Baby Powder Lawsuits Raise Questions about Cancer Risk

I remember my mom telling me about a family member who died from cervical cancer. The story began after we were talking about the safety of baby powder for preventing chafing. She told me that this family member had faithfully used talc on her genitals to stay dry/fresh. Apparently it’s a pretty common practice, but one that may come with a pretty hefty price – increased cancer risk. I get the Harvard Chan School of Public Health email newsletters and today there was a NY times article highlighted about a rise in lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson by women who have suffered through cancer & believe that their talcum powder use is the risk factor that caused their cancer. There is no cause- and effect relationship established. However if there is a doubt about the safety of a product, maybe women should be informed to make better decisions on rather to sprinkle or not to sprinkle that powder on their genital area.



Foodtank Summit

While I sift through workplans today, I am going to be listening in to the 2016 Foodtank Summit! Be sure to tune in today & tomorrow for the live stream of the 2016 Foodtank Summit!

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will be in attendance!


Today & Tomorrow – tune in to the live stream of the 2016 annual Foodtank Summit!

Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)

Prior to starting my internship I had heard discussion in the news of pending legislation that would amend labeling requirements for meat sold by retailers such as full-line grocery stores, supermarkets and club warehouse stores to notify their customers with important information regarding the source of certain foods. 1 month in and I have been hearing about policy on labeling meat with their country of origin.Upon the starting my job I would hear the word “COOL” several times in reference to a regulation… Just last week COOL came across my desk- it was quickly approved/designated by OMB (I mean come on it’s important, why wouldn’t it make it through quick). COOL, as I have come to find out, stands for : Country Of Origin Labeling . The food products covered by the law includes muscle cut and ground meats: lamb, goat, and chicken; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables; peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts; and ginseng.


3 Incredible Weeks!

The National Mall is so beautiful! Furthermore the architecture of the Jamie L. Whitten building is just breathtaking. I have long appreciated the beauty of the buildings in our nation’s capital  so I am somewhat always looking up and around the minute I walk in the door each morning, finding something new to appreciate each time. I am grateful for the opportunity to be working in my dream job (environment) right out of college – go Terps! (Speaking of which – the man responsible for the existence of the Fellows Program I am in, is Terp alum & he instructed my supervisor to recruit from Carrers4Terps where he found my resume due to my prior experience with the USDA!)

So I graduated from UMD with my Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and two weeks later I was headed downtown to begin my new job as an OBPA Fellow at the USDA  ! I headed into this position with many questions and a little nervous. But I was so excited for the new opportunity and the new environment all the while being able to be close to home! These first 3 weeks (today marks the start of the fourth!) of work has comprised of me beginning my first project but mostly getting acclimated to the way things run here in The Office of Budget & Program Analysis (OBPA). I have also been grappling with what work/life balance looks like for me and the next steps for my education/career (graduate school). So I am excited and happy to be at OBPA.


Summer Woes: Update

Tanacetum parthenium (feverfew) . Traditional medicinal herb used to treat migraines

As a student I have always used the time off from school in the summer to see the doctors for my physicals, get my annual eye exam, dentist visit etc. This past summer I started seeing a new primary care doctor, and I love her!!! I had an extremely helpful conversation with her bout my bouts with migraines. In response to my desire to not take hormonal contraception again to get rid of the horrible buggers; she gave me a thick packet of foods to avoid and herbal/supplemental remedies to try and zap this issue.

She told me to try Feverfew to combat the migraines preventatively since it seemed my migraines are especially hormonally triggered as well as the usual food triggers (nitrites, some wines, some dairy etc.).  So a little less than 2 weeks before my monthly visitor was to arrive I began taking Feverfew 3 times a day. The results : NO MIGRAINES & NO CRAMPS !!!!

It turns out that parthenolide is thought to be the compound that helps to reduce migraines and menstrual cramps by relieving spasms in smooth muscle tissue ! Researchers aren’t exactly sure what is the exact compound acting to provide these results but this remedy is centuries old! There are some studies published on the positive effects of Tanacetum parthenium on biological activities but there is more research needed to establish the efficacy of the herb. I won’t be taking it long term but I will take it for a couple weeks strategically as to prevent migraines when I normally have them.

So grateful for my new doctor! I love it when doctors don’t automatically shove drugs in your face for issues that can easily be resolved with diet and lifestyle changes !  Not to mention the fact she’s located a little over 3 miles from home and in the same building as my allergist, and now dermatologist (stay tuned for an update about that & my currently resolved cystic acne!)

(s/n I read an article where a woman’s neurologist urged her not to take hormonal contraception because of her migraines. I am grateful for finding this knowledge!!!)

5 Foods that May Affect Your Memory

No surprised by most of the foods listed…

  I ate something that didn’t agree with me a few days ago, and Mom’s Organic Market had these on sale last week. I through 1/4 cup of this back and it’s so soothing ! My stomach was back to normal in no time ! Check out this article about some of the benefits of aloe Vera juice ! 

Summer Woes! 

It is well into summer, and with summer comes – a break from classes (some) and a lapse in the constant stress of taking a full load for my fellow college students. Summer means being home, time with family, and summer trips! I waited anxiously for grades to post from the end of the semester, and was happy when they did. However what was somewhat aggravating is the need to reset my body. This semester entailed taking a full load while doing research in a lab and internship as a part of one of the classes for my minor. I stayed up many nights past 2am. I did in fact pull a couple of all nighters in addition to my usual 2-4am average bedtime (as expected with college). With summer break came the challenge of breaking bad habits. I have struggled with migraines and headaches in the past but got rid of them with changes to my diet and lifestyle. Once again this summer due to several potential triggers at play in my life I had to do some heavy work to get my body on a schedule and destress to prevent a summer full of headaches. Just like headaches from that later than normal cup of coffee on the weekend , significant changes to stress levels will trigger those nasty headaches. Below I have listed some of the common triggers as well as things that work to counter and prevent migraine headaches:

1.) Breakfast Everyday

2.) Watch out for Nitrites & Nitrates

3.) Watch the Weather

4.) Count your Omegas

5.) Spit out Gum

*Sleep : One of the ways that I have countered any lingering worries and stress/anxiety about the upcoming months is to get on more of a sleep schedule. This was less about a certain time and more about the length of time and quality of sleep for me. I’ve tried to surround the hour or so leading up to bedtime with relaxing activities (e.g. journaling, a movie I enjoy, or reading a book) and less thinking about tasks or my to-do lists. One of the most helpful ways I have improved my sleep is through the se of the alarm app Sleep Time: Sleep Cycle Smart Alarm Clock.

* Lastly, one of my favorite ways to reduce stress is reading and going to the gym. So after settling into a normal sleep schedule I kicked up my physical activity. I literally breath easier after a good workout! Incorporating Yoga has especially been a favorite workout for increasing flexibility while reducing stress and improving posture and stability through strengthening. 

Breakfast Switch ! 


I recently decided that I wanted to reduce the amount of sugar I have on a daily basis. One of the main ways I found to do this was switching from my individual cups of Oikos vanilla Greek yogurt.  

The individual cups have 18 grams of sugar per serving while the plain Greek yogurt has half of this amount of sugar in a serving. In addition to less sugar the plain yogurt has almost double (22g) the amount of protein as the vanilla individual cups of yogurt (12 grams of protein). I added granola to take the bite off of the plain yogurt! 

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