I've always been a fan of exfoliation - scrubs, peels, etc. I love the clean feeling and smooth surface of my skin after a good scrub (even if it's just from my towel when I'm drying off). For most of my life, I have struggled with acne - which means that sometimes my skin thanks me for a good scrub and sometimes it screams at me as it gets inflamed. It's not easy to balance good exfoliation with low irritation, but Clarisonic does it perfectly!
I'll admit, when you're used to a more aggressive scrub, the first couple of uses of the Clarisonic can feel like it's not quite doing the job. Give it a few times, however, and you'll be feeling like someone just did a buff 'n shine on your face.
Before I invested in my Clarisonic, I wanted to be sure that I would actually use the brush every day and not quickly give up the ritual to skip back to my previous exfoliation methods. So, I started with a much cheaper, simple electronic Olay Pro-X Cleansing Brush. I stayed dedicated to using it, and it worked fine, but I wasn't getting the same results that everyone who used a Clarisonic swore to. Deciding that I would stay consistent, and very interested in achieving the results others talked about, I invested in the Clarisonic.
First, I must tell you that they are truly two different products. Though the Olay Pro-X Cleansing Brush works well for basic exfoliation, the Clarisonic Cleansing System uses ultrasonic cleansing (like the Sonicare toothbrush used for deep cleaning your teeth), which utilizes sound vibration to gently and deeply clean pores. Sonication (the mechanism used in ultrasonic cleansing) is used for delicate processes like cleaning jewelry and extracting microfossils from rock (which obviously requires thorough yet gentle care). As this method is obviously prized for it's ability to deeply clean while remaining gentle, it makes perfect sense to apply its uses to skin care. So, where the ultrasonic cleansing of the Clarisonic gently oscillates at 300 times per second, the Olay Pro-X simply spins the brush in a circle (which wears out the brush quickly and can cause irritation).
Clarisonic Video: How It Works
Here's a video with a lot of great information about how it works, how to use it, and some medical opinions about it. The video is a bit older and doesn't show the more convenient and updated Clarisonic models available, but the overall information is the same, and it's the most thorough video that I've found.
Men interested in how it helps prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs, check the video out at 2:29.
To understand the specifics of ultrasonic cleansing, check the video out at 2:52.
Ultrasonic devices are also used for skin tightening (we'll explore this in another post). Though I'm sure its not as drastic as what I would see from a unit specifically designed for skin tightening, I have personally seen my skin getting tighter just from using my Clarisonic.
The short answer is “No”. The long answer tells you why.
Stop The Panic!
This week, I got an email from a friend of mine titled “UGH! Now What!!!!!????”. In it, she linked a recent article about arsenic in rice. She was worried because her family eats a lot of brown rice and she had a big sigh as she was trying to make sense of it all. I completely understood her frustration. Another food we’re not supposed to eat. What’s Next?!?
I replied with a “You can still eat brown rice - don't worry - and brown rice is still better for you than white rice.” I answered a few question, and included some links for more research (people should always make their own informed decisions). I realized, however, that this conversation should really be happening online so that others can benefit. So…here goes. We’ll cover it in this order:
Yes, there is arsenic in rice…and in vegetables, and fruit, and other grains, and water, and soil, and…yeah, you get the idea. Arsenic is found naturally in our water and soil. Plants absorb this as they grow. Rice is grown in water, so more is found in that particular grain.
The presence of arsenic isn’t (or shouldn’t be) alarming. It’s an element found almost everywhere, including our own bodies. The question comes in with the amount.
Is The Amount Of Arsenic In Rice Dangerous?
It depends on whom you ask. Consumer Reports says “yes”. The World Health Organization (WHO) says “no”. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says “no”.
50kg = 110lbs, so a 110 lb. person’s maximum tolerable intake of inorganic arsenic would be 100 mcg per day.
The FDA lists the average brown rice tested at 7.2 mcg per 1/2 cup serving.
This is not a significant source of arsenic to be concerned about for adults.
“The dose makes the poison”
-Paracelsus (1493-1591), founder of toxicology
Paracelsus, the founder of toxicology (the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms), introduced the idea that substances that are considered toxic at large doses can often have a positive effect in small doses. Conversely, an ordinarily harmless substance can be deadly if over-consumed. Let’s explore that a little further.
Can Small Amounts Of Arsenic Be Good For You?
It would seem so. There are two very good arguments for this:
Arsenic may be an essential trace element (meaning we actually need it)
Exposure to small amounts of toxins educates the immune system
Arsenic: An Essential Trace Mineral
“Studies in animal species provide strong evidence that arsenic is an essential trace element...When researchers completely eliminated arsenic from the diets of animals in experiments, the animals became ill; some developed reproductive problems. The offspring of these arsenic-deprived adults were born with developmental problems. Putting a small amount of arsenic back into the animals' diets completely reversed these effects.” Darmouth
Arsenic: Educate & Build The Immune System
Dr. Henry I. Miller, in his Forbes article, Can Tiny Amounts of Poison Actually Be Good For You, discusses the increased immunity after low-level exposure to radiation.
“This phenomenon is called hormesis, a non-linear dose-response relationship in which something such as a toxic heavy metal or ionizing radiation that is harmful at moderate to high doses may actually produce adaptive beneficial effects at low doses.” Dr. Henry I. Miller
This argument is rooted in an understanding of how our immune system works.
Even though higher doses cause harm, the low-level stress caused by extremely low doses appears to trigger cellular repair and maintenance, leading to beneficial outcomes such as reduced risk of certain types of cancer in laboratory animals.”
Nancy Trautmann, Ph.D.
Basically, our immune system is built by having exposure to small amounts of toxins and learning how to fight them. That's how we build immunity to something. The body has a mini battle with it and learns how to contain, eliminate and destroy it. The body stores this information (literally) and the immune system is now able to have a faster, more effective approach to managing the problem if it ever occurs again. So, exposure to small amounts of arsenic actually educates the body about the substance so that it can deal with it more effectively in the future. Check out this video for a quick and fun overview of how parts of the immune system work.
Obviously, as with all potentially toxic substances, there is a dose at which even the best trained immune system doesn’t stand a chance. However, since most of us won’t be exposed to a lethal dose of arsenic, let’s get back to the question of arsenic in rice and when you should be careful.
When To Be Careful With Arsenic in Rice Products
Again, “The dose makes the poison”. Arsenic is still toxic at certain levels, and there are two main areas of concern that you should examine when deciding about the arsenic levels in rice and whether or not they are a danger to you or a loved one. These areas are:
A currently compromised immune system
Portion size compared the size of the individual (mainly infants and children)
Arsenic on a Compromised Immune System
“it is important to keep in mind that a chemical that is beneficial in one way may also be damaging in others. For example, although exposure to tiny doses of a contaminant might improve immune responses in healthy adult males, that same exposure potentially could harm children, pregnant women, or people with suppressed immune systems.”
Nancy Trautmann, Ph.D.
So, it might help to build your immune system...unless your immune system is already shot. Then, you should be careful about serving sizes of any substance that could cause harm to an already weak system.
Arsenic for Babies and Children
The main concern with arsenic in rice is for those infants and children that are consuming a great deal more rice based products per lb./kg. of bodyweight than adults. Between rice formulas, rice cereals, rice milk and rice snacks, some children are having rice as their main source of everything they eat.
“Dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic for children under three years old, including from rice-based foods, is in general estimated to be about 2 to 3-fold that of adults. These estimates do not include milk intolerant children substituting rice-drinks for formula or cows’ milk.” European Food Safety Authority
Immune Suppressed (elderly, sick, recovering from illness or surgery, etc.)
Feeding an Infant or Small Child
you should examine more closely what you’re exposed to (food or otherwise). This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to make any changes at all. It simply means that you should check what you’re already getting (or feeding your young ones) and check if it’s within safe limits. This isn’t just a rice question. This applies to so many things and is an overall health question.
Is There Safer Rice With Less Arsenic?
There are a few different options for getting rice that has less arsenic. Which of these you choose will depend on your nutrition goals.
White Rice With Less Arsenic
The FDA reports that white rice has between 1/2 and 2/3rds the amount of arsenic as brown rice (depending on the variety of white rice). FDA
That does not make white rice a healthier choice, however. White rice has less arsenic than brown rice because it has less of every trace mineral. White rice is made by simply scrubbing the outer bran layer off. The bran layer is where most of the micronutrients are. If you’re looking for a simple carb to boost blood sugar, then white rice is a good option for you. If you’re looking for vitamins and minerals, then brown rice is still the healthier choice. Here's a quick video on how white rice is made:
Now, is there a safer brown rice available?
Brown Rice With Less Arsenic
There is a difference in the amount of arsenic found in rice depending on how and where it was grown.
“Inorganic arsenic occurs in nature in the soil, copper and lead ore deposits, and water, but usually in low concentrations. However, it can become more concentrated when industrial processes use it to make wood preservatives, metal compounds, or organic arsenic-containing compounds such as insecticides, weed killers, and other compounds.”
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Though arsenic is found in the soil and water, an increased amount is found where certain pesticides and fertilizers were used. For example, you'll find that rice grown in the Southern U.S. is higher in arsenic, because it is grown in the same place cotton used to grow. The cotton farmers used arsenic-based pesticides to control boll weevils.
To be on the safe side - check where it's grown. We get the Lundberg from iHerb. They regularly take their own readings and seek to keep the arsenic low. Both their brown rice and white rice is well below the average reported by the FDA. Check out the Lundberg website to see the exact numbers.
Keeping Poison In Perspective
All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy. Paracelsus, 1567, founder of toxicology
The Dose Makes The Poison
Too much salt is in a person’s system is known medically as hypernatremia. If hypernatremia occurs,
“there is too much sodium outside the brain cells, water will flow out to right this discrepancy, causing the cells to shrink. Confusion, jitteriness, seizures, coma, and death can result if things aren’t corrected.”
“The caffeine in a normal human diet does not cause illness, but just 50 times this amount could kill you.”
Nancy Trautmann, Ph.D.
The oxalic acid found in spinach is harmless in the amounts anyone would normally eat but could lead to kidney damage or death if 10 to 20 pounds were consumed at a single sitting.”
Nancy Trautmann, Ph.D.
The Body’s Ability To Filter Out Toxins
One thing that people seem to be missing from these reports about arsenic in rice is that they are testing higher doses of arsenic in people's urine - as in, they're peeing it out - getting rid of it.
“The toxicity of each type of chemical also depends on whether it gets excreted from the body or stored in the liver, kidneys, fat, or other tissues” The Dose Makes the Poison--Or Does It?
Nancy Trautmann, Ph.D.
So, how toxic a substance is depends on how efficiently the body gets rid of it. This is one of those areas where a compromised immune system makes you disqualified from counting on your body’s ability to properly filter toxins. It might be able to, but you can’t be sure how efficiently it will do so. For a relatively healthy individual, however, arsenic is excreted through the urine.
“Arsenic is removed from blood very quickly...arsenic is mainly excreted from the body through urine within 1 to 2 days”
Again, no matter how efficiently your body filters out toxins, there is always a dose at which it cannot keep up. Rice clearly does not contain this dose.
What You NEED To Know About Arsenic in Rice
Basics on Arsenic in Rice
Arsenic is a necessary element that your body needs - Dartmouth
Too much arsenic is toxic and can be deadly (like salt, iodine and many other substances)
Arsenic in Rice: Verdict for Adults
The provisional maximum tolerable daily intake (PMTDI) of inorganic arsenic is 2 mcg/kg of bodyweight per day (50kg = 110lbs, so a 110 lb. person’s maximum tolerable intake of inorganic arsenic would be 100 mcg per day) - World Health Organization (WHO)
The FDA lists the average brown rice tested at 7.2 mgc per 1/2 cup serving. - FDA
This is not a significant source of arsenic to be concerned about for adults.
Arsenic in Rice: Verdict for Children
Children under 3 years old generally get 2 - 3 times the exposure to inorganic arsenic as adults. - FDA
The provisional maximum daily tolerable intake (PMDTI) of arsenic for a six-month-old baby that weighs 16.5 lbs. (approximately 7.5 kg.) would be 15 mcg. - World Health Organization (WHO)
Concern comes in for rice-based infant formulas and toddler cereals, as their consumption per bodyweight might be too high. Check the amounts you are giving your child, or consider adding in some alternatives to balance the diet more.
Conclusion of The Arsenic Rice Question
You can still eat rice, and brown rice is still better for you than white rice (at least if you’re looking for more vitamins and minerals in your food…which most of us are).
If you eat a lot of rice or are feeding a lot of rice to your growing children, there are safer brands and types of rice.
What About You
Let’s learn from each other. Share with us your stories and any research you’ve found that helps us all make educated decisions.
As I was getting this deal for myself (how can I not?!?), I was forwarding the link to a few close friends and family members and I realized that I was still being a little selfish. Here I have a group of people who are interested in health, fitness and weight loss, and I've got a ridiculously great deal that some of them might want to take advantage of.
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*NOTE* This is a post I wrote while I was going through the HCG Diet Program. I thought I'd share it now to help other skinny-fat people out there. ;) Summer is approaching - feel empowered with options!
I'll admit, no matter what people tell you, there are the occasional hunger spurts and cravings for forbidden foods. And those times are not easy, but all that's needed to get me through them are the numbers on my scale each morning! I'm not kidding. I've lost an overage of 1/2 lb. a day. That's 3.5 lbs. a week! And here's the REALLY good news - It's all FAT!!! Recordable, measurable, trackable - it's FAT. Maybe if you've never really tried to lose fat, you won't be able to appreciate those numbers. If you have, you know what it means to see that consistent drop - not in just weight, but specifically in FAT!!!
I'm a Skinny-Fat Person
You've probably read about those people who lose 1-2 lbs. a day on this HCG Diet. I've seen it - It's real! It's not at all uncommon for men, in general, or women who are truly overweight. Why am I not getting those numbers? … Easy - I'm not overweight, but I am overFAT. What does this mean? My BMI says, “I'm healthy”. My dress size says, “I'm thin”. My weigh scale says, “No worries”… or at least it would, if it didn't have the ability to measure my Body Fat %. My mirror says, “Cottage cheese, anyone?” (Yeah, for ways to fix that, check out our Cellulite Section. I'll be adding more detailed information and specific programs to help you: Understand It! - Prevent It! - Fix It! - Fake It 'Till You Make It!)
My Yo-Yo Diet & Exercise Experience
I've spent hours in the gym working to tone my muscles with weighted exercises, and it's worked. Unfortunately, the fat remained. Then I'd cut back my calories to try to “trim up” and I'd LOSE the MUSCLE I'd just worked so hard to get. I suppose you could call that a different form of yo-yo dieting. What I LOVE so much about the HCG Diet is the ability to keep my muscle while losing my fat. Also, I like that I'm seeing my thighs go down vs. my bust. There was nothing more frustrating then losing my muscle AND my breasts all while the fat that had settled in as “saddle bags” wouldn't budge!
I'm Almost There
So, I'm about another week away from reaching my goal. That doesn't sound so hard. I've made it this far and I'm loving what I'm seeing.
PS - Did I mention that my “skinny jeans”, which used to be a second skin, are now loose in all the important areas. They fit, straight out of the dryer, like they used to fit the second or third day. - Yeah, I'm loving it!
***WARNING*** Not every form of hCG being sold is the real thing. For suppliers of REAL HCG, check out Purchase Real HCG. To understand the difference, and read more about the terrible side effects we had when using the fake hCG, check out HCG - Injections vs. Drops.
What About You
Are you a skinny-fat person? Are you ready to do something about it?
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