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Navigate maze of products wisely

Q: I’m trying my best to get healthier, so I am eating better and exercising. There are so many different products out there that I don’t have any idea whether I’m making the best choices when it comes to the products I choose. Can you help?

A: You aren’t alone. Frustrated with the lack of concise and easy to access information, healthy living advocates Amy Ziff and Adrienne Peres founded, a website dedicated to helping simplify the decision-making process.

Some things to take into consideration, courtesy of Ziff and Peres:

Energy bars: So-called energy bars may provide a quick boost, but this is often because they contain excess sugars or other ingredients that your body doesn’t need. Many energy bars are still packed with processed ingredients, additives and preservatives along with added sugars. To make the wisest decision, choose products that don’t sacrifice nutrition for on-the-go convenience. Look for bars that contain at least 4 grams of protein and raw, plant-derived ingredients, as well as high fiber. Fiber is important because it aids digestion, helps to keep you full and curbs appetite.

Water bottle pollution:

To avoid letting the bottle possibly contaminate your water, choose one made with safe, reusable material, and say goodbye to BPA, plastics, PVC, phthalates and lead. Best: Look for a permanent water bottle expressly designed to be used, cleaned and re-filled. The money you save by not buying disposable plastic bottles will pay for a healthier and higher quality bottle, and will leave less to end up in landfills. Experts recommend stainless steel, aluminum or glass bottles. Look for BPA-free, Phthalate-free and VOC-free products.

Know your deodorant. It seems impossible to find the perfect deodorant that works hard without including aluminum, but it’s worth re-applying over adding chemicals under scrutiny directly onto your sweat glands. Sweaty and stinky are not words we like, but choose deodorants wisely. Look for Mineral Zinc as an active ingredient to absorb odor. Other key words to look for? Castor beans and hops help absorb odor-causing bacteria.

Sunblock. Remember that what we put on our bodies goes into our bodies, so choose sun protection wisely. In today’s health-conscious word, there’s no need to use sunscreen that contains chemicals and nano particles. Choose lightweight moisturizers that are noncomedogenic and include organic ingredients like aloe, beeswax and cocoa butter to sooth and the active Zinc Oxide for protection. You can offer your skin full protection from UVA and UVB rays with products that contain all-natural ingredients.

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