What's in the Water?

What's in the Water?

Water... Life's Most Valuable Componet (next to the Air we breathe) Photo by Joslyn Taylor     I wrote this article on water a while back, but water will always be...

Healthy Breakfast Bites & Advice

Healthy Breakfast Bites & Advice

         Skipping breakfast increases cardiovascular disease, decreases cognitive function and sets us up for future unhealthy cravings throughout the day. Make...

Let's Talk Food Values, then make some Soup!

Let's Talk Food Values, then make some Soup!

  Photo by Joslyn Taylor    By Holly Pellham Davis   As a little girl, much of my summer was spent at my grandparent’s house in Louisiana where I...

Dying To Be Beautiful

Dying To Be Beautiful

        By: Holly Pellham Davis   ***************************   Every day, all across America, a mom gets up and douses herself...

Food as Medicine- Top 15 Power Foods

  : By: Holly Pellham Davis ******* When it comes to food, my motto is, “You are what your food eats.” A healthy diet isn’t about deprivation, rather it hinges on eating...



  By Holly Pellham Davis ******  I attended a viewing of the documentary, Trashed produced and narrated by Academy Award winning actor, Jeremy Irons. Just a...

All About Holly Pellham Davis

Clean Fresh Beauty

Photo by D Magazine for DMoms Daily-  Holly Davis' Picks for Non-Toxic Nail Polish

Holly’s polish picks: 1. Kure Bazaar 2. Chanel 3. No Miss 4. Mineral Fusion 5. Zoya not shown: Butter London link below.

By Holly Pellham Davis

My daughter and I love pretty nail polish colors. But, sadly, the seemingly harmless act of getting a mani/pedi can be rife with nasty toxic chemicals that bioaccumulate in our bodies.

Most nail polish, removers, adhesives, gel manicures, acrylics, and some nail “art” contain a long list of extremely powerful chemicals that can pose a serious threat to a person’s health through both contact with skin and inhalation. Just being in the same room where certain nail products are being used can put you, your child, and especially unborn children at risk.


The big 3 harmful chemicals we find in nail polish are:

  • Formaldehyde – A known carcinogen that has been proven to cause leukemia and other blood cancers, as well as severe damage to tissue in the human body, DNA, gene mutation, and chromosomal breakage.
  • Toluene — Also used as an additive to gasoline and in the production of benzene (one of the most deadly chemicals on the planet), Toluene has been shown to cause neurological and cognitive damage, reproductive dysfunction and damage, kidney and liver damage, and “harm to unborn child during pregnancy.
  • Dibutyl phthalate DBP — Phthalates, especially DBP and DEHP & DDP have been heavily studied and are proven developmental and reproductive toxicants. DBP exposure has been shown to be an endocrine disruptor and can cause fertility and reproductive abnormalities, especially in males (marked sperm reduction in the last 40 years, increase in testicular abnormalities and deformities.) Studies show contact with the chemical can result in an increased risk for breast cancer, prostate and testicular cancer, liver toxicity, and fetal skeletal abnormalities. What’s more, studies have confirmed the presence of DBP and other phthalates in breast milk, amniotic fluid, urine, and serum.


In a world where we are inundated with toxic exposures from many different sources, changing our Mani/Pedi habits can be an easy, doable change. Here are a three easy tips for sussing out toxic nail offenders.

Do A Background Check: Know your nail products. Find a brand you can trust. Understand that just because the product states  that it’s free of Formaldehyde,Toluene, and Dibutyl Phthalate doesn’t mean it’s true. Check for yourself here. I was relieved to find my trusted Zoya brand to be one of the only left standing as truly “3 Free” after a random testing from a San Francisco store.

Be Salon Savvy: Know your salon safety rules, especially where your little one’s are getting their polish on. Make sure the areas are well ventilated with no artificial nail applications in the same room; take your own “3 Free” nail polishes, base, and top coats; skip the UV top coat and drying station, as dermatologists have been reporting dramatic increases in skin cancer attributed to the UV-light exposure from the lamps.

Steer Clear These Toxic Badboys

  • Acrylic and Gel nail applications, which are made of toxic synthetic polymers and contain Methyacrylic Acid (in nail primer) and Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA), an artificial nail liquid. Exposures to these substances while pregnant may harm your unborn child. Plus, the need to soak in acetone to remove is a double toxic whammy.
  • Acetone and other nail polish solvents and thinners.
  • Butyl Acetate and Ethyl Acetate.
  • Camphor, which is a plasticizer also commonly used as a fragrance and is highly irritating to the 
lungs and skin. Camphor is very toxic and at high dosages, can be lethal. (Note: There are several “all-natural” products such as lip balms, lotions etc that contain camphor, such as “Burt Bees.” I do not recommend them.)
  • Formaldehyde resins: Really? We need to distinguish from Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde resins? Formaldehyde causes cancer, in any combination, mixture or form. (Note: Melamine plastic tableware, commonly used in kids plates and cups, is made of a melamine-formaldehyde resin and can be released into food at high temperatures and when in contact with acidic substances. That’s a little more than we bargained for with the little one’s cup of Orange Juice.)


Never fear, there’s still nail fun to be had. Following are my SIX favorite Clean Fresh nail polish brands

  1. Kure Bazaar -- The Mon Bleu shade is a total crowd pleaser.
  2. Chanel – On-trend hues and luxe formulations without all the yucky stuff (just like we like it).
  3. No Miss –  Super Fun colors that are super long lasting. (Sidebar: They have a polish remover but it doesnʼt remove much.)
  4. Mineral Fusion — From the colors to the awesome base and top coat, I love everything about this line. Their polish remover is awesome too.
  5. Zoya – My daughterʼs fave.
  6. Butter London- BEST Laquers & Top Coat that are long lasting! MY VERY FAVE!!! 


With more of us joining together demanding non-toxic products for our pretty little fingers, precious princesses, (not to mention the environment) more and more safe polishes and nail products are being created to meet demand. Letʼs keep ʻem on their toes Mamaʼs! Healthy is Beautiful!

XOXO, Holly

Enjoying The Hawaiian Sun



By: Holly Pellham Davis


Who knew sunscreen could be so controversial? But, as with most products containing chemicals brought to us by cosmetic companies, it's all to common today. So what are the best products available? What do we look for and how do we best protect our families from the possible harmful effects of too much sun?


We know the sun’s radiation, UVA (long wave) and UVB (short wave, most damaging) rays cause free radicals to increase in the skin.

Sun exposure damages cellular DNA, increases the signs of aging and increases risk of skin cancer. But before you run inside and put your caftan and XL brimmed chapeau on, that awesome star of our galaxy has some major benefits to health also. Let’s chat about a couple of those first.


           Vitamin D:      It’s actually not a vitamin at all, it’s a hormone.

(Background: In the 1930’s the dairy industry began fortifying milk with “vitamin” D)  Vitamin D is vital in mineral metabolism, supports the immune system and is essential to bone health and growth making it especially important to developing children. Recent studies demonstrate the importance of healthy levels of Vitamin D and a wide range of benefits to our health, specifically a reduction in risk of colon and breast cancer. Recent trends show Americans to be deficient in vitamin D due to the use of sunscreens which block the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin and the overall decrease in outdoor activity. To increase  your bodies vitamin D hormone, simply get direct sun (meaning without sunscreen) skin exposure for about 20 minutes per day. Your body will naturally  produce the hormone vitamin D you need.  Vitamin D supplements can be taken daily for those not wanting the direct sun approach, in addition to a diet rich in foods that support Vitamin D production such as wild salmon, organic free range egg yolks and mushrooms. 


         Be Happy.       Sunlight makes us happy. Like the chemical reaction in the body that causes the hormone, vitamin D to be produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight, the body has similar reactions that release other hormones and signals to the brain and body. Sunlight exposure helps regulate our sleep cycle, decrease stress and depression. Making a short daily dose of sun part of your wellness regime can be life changing.


So, what about skin protection for everyday exposure or the pool days of Summer?


Here are some tips and guidelines to ensure protection from exposure to harmful rays as well as potentially harmful chemicals commonly found in sunscreens:


  • Clothing, the first line of defense: Shade and protective clothing including hats, shirts and sunglasses are among your first lines of defense. Sunglasses or water googles with UV added protection for the eyes is also strongly advised for children and adults alike.
  • Stay out of O-Zone: Avoid sun exposure on high ozone days which can increase free radicals, skin damage and exacerbate problems with breathing. 
  • Liberal Application: Apply a BROAD SPECTRUM, (Block both UVA & UVB Rays) Sunscreen often and a LOT of it. Tests reveal, in order to have maximum protection, sunscreen must be applied in a large dosage that delivers the product completely over the skins surface. Half the “dosage” only gives half the protection.
  • Don’t get High on Numbers: Resist the temptation to get caught up in a numbers game when choosing sun protection. Products boasting SPF 50 do not always translate to greater UV protection or that you can stay in the sun longer. Go for an SPF in the 30 range, apply often and take breaks from direct exposure by seeking some shade.
  • NO SPRAY Sunscreens: Deep breath. This is a hot issue for me. Spray sunscreens should be banned from existence. Harmful chemicals are inhaled and can enter the bloodstream through the lungs with the possibility of causing damage to vital organs. In addition, many sunscreens contain powder, talc and other micro, nano properties that can be harmful if inhaled. The FDA recently banned all SPF (nano) from loose mineral powders, due to this health risk, but exempt small companies to make the change until December of this year. (Say what?)  If you must use a spray, please refrain from applying in public places as it will put others at risk. 
  • No Mixing: Don’t mix Sunscreens and Insect Repellants. It’s simply a toxic chemical cocktail. Use light colored clothing in addition to layering your mineral based sunscreen first, then apply your deet-free insect repellant. (More on that another time.)
  • No-Go Ingredients: Refrain from using any sunscreen product (including lip balms) containing these commonly used chemicals:

          Oxybenzone and/or Octinozate- Both have been shown to cause reproductive disorders, endocrine disruption and hormone mimicking activity in humans. These chemicals are highly toxic and pose significant risk to people as well as animals and aquatic life. 

           Retinyl Palmitate (vitamin A)- Research shows retinyl palmitate acts as a photo carcinogen, speeding up the development of skin tumors and legions on sun, UV radiation exposed skin. With sun exposure alone, free radicals are are formed and damage to DNA strands occur which contribute to the cause of skin cancer. With the presence of vitamin A, that skin damage increases, including tumor and lesion growth, compared to those without vitamin A.  In my own research over the last several years, I examined the findings of studies such as this one and strongly believe retinyl palmitate should not be used in sunscreens, skin lotions or other applications for sun exposed skin. It can take 10-15 years for this type of research to reach mainstream and be “applied” to products. I want you to be informed now. Read your labels carefully.    


Best choices for sunscreens are mineral based, zinc oxide & titanium dioxide.

Despite the fact sunscreens and loose powder mineral makeup with SPF contain nano particles which carry a risk of inhalation, mineral based sunscreens are safer and less toxic, making them a better choice than chemical sunscreen varieties. Zinc oxide is king. Keep in mind the sunscreens that cause you to look like Casper, have lower levels of nano sized particles in them. We can all stand a ghost effect in the name of health and true anti aging benefits can’t we? 


Some of my trusted, personal favorite sunscreens in my beach bag for kiddos include California Baby Sunscreen stick which I love for the easy application to the kids face and shoulders, Aubrey Organics is a brand I totally trust. The SPF lotion goes on a little thick and white so the kids may bark a bit, but this mom loves its protection!


And, for me it’s Devita’s SPF 30 for body  and Renee Rouleau’s spf 30 moisturizer for face. 


If you would like to dive into the deep end of sunscreens a little deeper, check out  Environmental Working Group’s “Guide to Safer Sunscreens”! You can find the complete report here  which includes awesome information including ratings on the sunscreens they tested. 


Here's to a safe summer vacation!


Holly Pellham Davis






By: Holly Pellham Davis




Every day, all across America, a mom gets up and douses herself in over 100 chemicals as she gets ready for each day. Beginning with aspartame in toothpaste, ozone depleting chemicals, hydrocarbons and isobutane in hairspray, aluminum in antiperspirant, sulfates and triclosan in soaps, lead in lipstick, coal in mascara, petroleum based lotions full of poisonous fragrance topped off with a splash or spray of perfume containing more fragrance, with a side of petrochemicals, in addition to diethyl-phthalate or DEP,* dressed in clothing washed with detergents containing cancer causing 1,4 dioxane, only to have an appointment later that day at the hair salon for a “Brazilian Blowout” exposing all in the room to formaldehyde, then a manicure polished up with more formaldehyde, Toluene and reproductive harming dibutyl phthalate (DBP), finishing off the appointment with eyeLash extenders applied with glue (super glue to be exact) containing more of... (you guessed it!).... FORMALDEHYDE.

What’s the big deal? All of it. But let’s look at Formaldehyde first, a known carcinogen (cancer causing chemical) and VOC (volatile organic compound) according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Formaldehyde has been shown to cause structural and numerical changes in chromosomes, with particular risk to embalmers and other occupations that expose workers such as beauty salon stylists. (I “grew up” in a beauty shop, so this part is even more personal to me.) These occupations carry an increased risk of blood cancers known as Leukemia, including Myeloid Leukemia according to a National Institutes Health Study published in 2009. Other increased risks are cancers of the nose, nasal cavity, and nasopharrynx and many reproductive problems including miscarriages. In 2011, the FDA sent a violation letter* to the maker of “Brazilian Blowout’s Acai Professional Smoothing Solution” after it found methylene glycol, a liquid form of formaldehyde, in its straightening serum. The box claimed “formaldehyde free” but methylene glycol when heated, turns into formaldehyde and releases into the air. Adding to their deception, the word “Acai” in its name, infers health as the Acai berry is considered a “superfood” high in antioxidants. Here is a list from EWG of Hair Straightener makers and Salons that COVER UP the dangers. 

All of that toxic exposure is bad enough, right? But, what if that same mom is pregnant? The fetus or unborn child, is exposed to everything the mother is exposed to. In fact, many of these chemicals, including DEP* (fragrance) has been found in cord blood. Our body absorbs these chemicals by inhalation (ie: air fresheners- a TOTAL oxymoron), ingesting them (alcohol in mouthwash), or by one of the most effective means, trans dermal transmission (face makeup, lotion, perfume). In fact, most things that touch our skin enter our blood stream in seconds with the possibility of affecting every cell in our bodies. That fact alone makes it essential to know exactly what ingredients and chemicals are contained in a product. It is as equally important to our health, as food and medicine is! You simply can not separate it and have whole health.


This is a point that must be a call to action for change in our system. Today, the 32 billion dollar cosmetic industry has little regulation and nothing requiring evidence of safety, or disclosure of harmful chemicals, often hiding behind classifying ingredients as fragrance, trade secrets and fair competition. What’s fair about poisoning society?


It is vitally important to keep your, and your children's exposure to these and other chemicals as low as possible. Start by educating yourself and supporting organizations like EWG.org , by reading the labels on your bathroom products, discarding (properly) the ones containing these (cited above) and other toxic chemicals, by claiming your air and by using the “power of your pocketbook” to increase demand for clean, non-toxic cosmetics and beauty products in the market place.


At the end of that day, you will find that true Beauty comes naturally from a truly Healthy place.


HEALTHY is Beautiful.






DEP in Fragrance: *According to research published by Washington Toxics Coalition 2009, found that exposure to unborn fetus can cause abnormal reproductive growth in baby boys and sperm damage in men. 
Formaldehyde in Hair Straighteners:
*Baby Products Tested http://www.safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=426
Holly’s Note: *Inquire with the Hair Salon about whether or not they offer “Hair Straightening or Relaxing” Treatments. See OSHA standards on “acceptable” formaldehyde levels. No open room, air ventilation system is effective enough. There is also exposure at the shampoo bowl. A salon is required by Law to Inform patrons of its use.