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December 02, 2011



I've fallen in love with the Clarisonic Mia skin cleansing system. Yes, at $100, it's a lot to spend to keep our face clean, but once you use it you will never go back to a washcloth. Much like the difference between a standard toothbrush and the sonic oscillating version. In fact, this little appliance was developed by the same man who invented the sonic toothbrush. The company makes a larger version that is about $100 more for all-over body use, but I like the Mia better because it's easy to hold in my small-ish hand, and I only use it on my face anyway. I have no affiliation with the company. H.L., interestingly, I use all the products you recommended except the headphones. Now I'm going to check those out! Thanks.

Wendy (Healthy GIrl's Kitchen)

I have been asking my husband for a heated mattress pad or heated blanket for the last few weeks, so it's so ironic that you mention in today on your blog. I just loathe the feeling of getting into a freezing cold bed at night. Now once our body heat warms up the bed, it's okay, and we do have a thermostat that lowers the heat down to 60 while we sleep. But that first 10 minutes are brutal and it seems totally worth $75 to end my misery.

Veggie V's Vegan Adventure

I haven't been able to live without a heated mattress pad for at least 10 years. I love it! When I met my husband, I got him hooked on it too :-) I use mine year round, and a couple of years ago, the controler got zapped by lightening, so I didn't have my heated bed for months! It was seriously terrible. I don't think I slept much until fall rolled around the heated mattress pads hit the store shelves again.

I've also had a Sonicare toothbrush for about as long as the heated mattress pad, and I love that too! It really has made a difference at the dentist. (I just went yesterday, and the hygentists was impressed with my lack of tarter build-up. Go me!)

BTW, I love your blog. I read and enjoy a lot of blogs (my own included - ha!), but I really look forward to yours. It's always so full of info! Maybe it's an a professional thing (academics), but I really appreciate the researches your highlight and references you provide. Thanks for that!


A wool mattress pad on top of the heated mattress pad takes comfort to an even higher level.
Wool is great year-round too.

Ellen Mulle'

1.) My sleep-number bed is fantastic! No more back problems. My physician and my "former" physical therapist both recommended it, and now I do, too! (Yoga/strength exercises helps, also.) Best X-mas present we ever bought. Sound sleep is soooo important!! 2.) My wonderful, light-weight down-feather bed comforter is deliciously warm on Albuquerque winter nights. Down seems healthier than electric pads/blankets.
Thanks for your great blog. Holiday blessings!


Does one need to worry about radiation or brain tumors with the wireless? I would like them, but my daughter scared me.

I sooooo want a vitamix!!!!!!!!!

Michele @VeganFork

I have a question, why is brushing your teeth only once a day good. I brush twice a day morning and evening? Also I have Braun/Oral B tooth brush and it has made a huge difference with my gums and teeth at dental visits. I like the round brush head on the Oral B. It is time for a new one and I was looking at Costco at the Phillips but the oval brush head made me hesitate. Love all of your blogs as usual xoxo

Health Librarian


Brushing once a day isn't "recommended" per se (more of course is just fine)--it's just what I often brush once-a-day--in the morning. My husband said it was OK--because I'm super-thorough, and I floss daily--which is key. There's something about it taking 24 hours for the bacteria to develop into plaque or something like that--which makes my sometimes 24 hour practice OK.

I'll ask him for the details, & the pro- and con- of oval versus round brush. I haven't a clue.

Janet Novak

I can't live without my crock pots-large and small-for making a weekly supply of beans. I've had my big crock pot for at least 15 years. I sort, clean and soak my beans on Saturday night, which takes all of 15 minutes, dump 'em in the crockpot with water on Sunday morning, and let 'em cook all day Sunday as I go about my day. Canned beans? Arrgh! No way! I buy a 25 pound bag of pintos and bolitas fresh from the farm every fall. They are so creamy and delicious! There is just NO comparison between fresh and canned. Plus, no worries from BPA from the cans. I eat beans daily or use them in a recipe, so they never go to waste. Nope...could not live without my crock pots!

Michele @VeganFork

Thanks for response on brushing your teeth once a day. I remember that my dentist did say that brushing with out tooth paste was suppose to be just as effective as with tooth paste. Less chemicals. I will wait to hear what your husband says about the pro's and con's of oval vs round brush.


Are overnight guests treated to a heated mattress pad too?

The Healthy Librarian

Babs--We always ask our guests if they prefer a bed with or without a heated mattress pad. What's your preference? We try to be accomodating.

Pam Wright

I've enjoyed reading articles on your site for weeks (arrived via an article in the NYT about sweet potatoes) - fascinating stuff. I'd like to get a Vitamix but when I checked their website, they offer several models.

They also have reconditioned models (48 and 62 ounce):

What do you recommend?

The Healthy Librarian

Hi Pam,

We have the 5200 basic black regular model & it works well for us. I'd recommend you get the 62 ounce over the 48 ounce (if you get the reconditioned ones)--it's very convenient to make 62 ounces of juice at a time, store it in a Klean Canteen & have enough juice for 2 days.

Or it works well to make a large quantity, if you're sharing your green juice with others in your family.

The big size is also good for pureeing a good quantity of soup. Say good-bye to pureeing in batches. And it doesn't explode like a blender.

Last year we did buy a small-sized container just to make a small quantity of something--like humus, or fruit/banana sorbet---but, you can easily do this in the larger container--it's just a little more work to "dig out" non-liquid contents, that don't pour out.

Glad you hopped on over to my blog via NYT! I'm a huge NYT's fan & need my daily fix.

BTW--Costco often has discounted deals on VitaMixes--mostly you save the shipping. Bed, Bath, & Beyond has a model that you can use a 20% coupon to buy--but it's not the 5200.

You might call the VitaMix customer service # for advice---I have found them very helpful! It's an excellent USA company.


Just saw this post on Dr. Andrew Weil's ezine
Regarding the safety of electric heating pads.

if you could find any other research that shows they are safe, then I'd be more inclined to buy your sunbeam heated mattress pad that you rave about.


I'm almost inclined to buy it whether it's safe or not - it sounds so delicious. We had a warm waterbed for about ten years, many years ago, and I do miss that lovely warmth when I first climb in. I didn't actually know these mattress pads existed, but they sound much less fiddley than my hot water bottle......


My best household purchase of late is a TRX Suspension Trainer. I highly recommend it for those of you looking for a super effective (and fun) home workout!!


I just bought a Sonicare (Flexcare Plus) at Amazon the other day. While I was browsing in Bed Bath & Beyond today I noticed they had Sonicares on sale with a notice about a rebate for some Sonicare brushes and brush heads (but even with BBB discount and coupon, they're charging more than I paid for it at Amazon), I did manage to find the rebate form online in case anyone else buys one before the end of this month. I'm still toying with the idea of that latest Robin Robertson book you wrote about a few weeks back. Thanks for the recommendations, HL!

Sue in Denver

The purchases that I could not live without and would go into debt to replace if they broke tomorrow:
1. My Vitamix--I've had it for at least 10 years now and LOVE it!
2. My Penquin soda water maker from Williams Sonoma. Sometimes I wonder if I drink TOO much water because of it!
3. My Conair professional-style clothes steamer. I have not ironed in YEARS!
4. Netflix (not a product, but you get the idea!)

The Healthy Librarian

Sue, My son & daughter-in-law have a soda water maker & when I visit, I can't get enough of that water. Maybe it's time to lay down some cash.

And the Conair steamer--I always wondered if those things worked. So cool to find out that they do--at least the Conair prof. model. Totally agree about Netflix- and our 2X a month membership is starting to get annoying--time to bump it up.

Thanks for your input!


What's your thought on electromagnetic fields (EMF) and electric blankets/pads? When I stayed at a B&B in Riverton, NZ, I was introduced to the hot water bottle. They know cold and damp. I use them to this day. I fill two with hot water and throw them at each end of the bed. When I hit the sack, my bed is nice and toasty. In NZ, shops all around, were selling wool hot water bottle cozies.

I'd love a Vita-Mix, but I can't get over the price. I've had an Oster Blender for decades, but it isn't easy to clean and sometimes it just isn't powerful enough. It does fine for powder shakes with fruit, but is overwhelmed if I try to whip firm tofu for frosting. I like that it has a glass container though. I also have a food processor. I think if they both die, I might replace them with 1 Vita-Mix :-) Have to take a look at Consumer Reports first.

Jennifer deWit

I own the Genesis Soda's a wonderful investment! One cartridge lasted almost all summer, and with a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon, the replacement cartridge cost me only $10. I just noticed that Costco will be selling them (saw it in their newest monthly magazine).

I'm also looking into heated mattress pads now that you've written about it. Costco sells a low-voltage model online.

The Healthy Librarian

I've looked at the research on electric blankets & mattress pads--and it was "mostly" put to rest after extensive research by the EBCLIS (Electromagnetic Fields & Breast Cancer on Long Island Study.) back in 2003.

The big brouhaha on electric blankets occurred in the 1970's-1980's I think.

2 important papers were published by the EBCLIS--which followed a large study group of blanket users & non-users, and their conclusion was that there was no association between breast cancer & electric blanket usage or from its ambient electromagnetic field emissions.

Here are the papers:


As in anything, there are researchers who argue with the findings & study design--but the authors have presented excellent follow-up reasons why their conclusions still stand, & the study design measured what it was supposed to measure.

Another important point: Since 1990, all new blankets & pads use something called PTC (positive temperature coefficient design), which allows for cancellation of fields & much lower levels of magnetic field emission.

It's the pre-1990 blankets that you should avoid.

This is documented in an EPA paper called, "EMF in Your Envirnoment: Magnetic Field Measurements of Everyday Electrical Devices" 1992. 404-R-92-008

There was one weak observational mention of an association between endometrial cancer & use of electric blankets--but, remember, post-1990 the technology for these blankets changed.

Use of an electric mattress is a personal decision. Certainly, there is info on the internet that casts doubt on many everyday items, & makes them sound risky.

My advice is to look at the literature to make a decision. Will it still be a 100% guaranteed fool-proof decision. Of course not. But, driving a car, skiing, and go outside all have risks.

That said--if I were pregnant, I'd avoid the pads--because of the increased heat.

Last point--mostly, I turn off my pad after about an hour. It's usefulness is in getting into a warm bed, and making it easy to fall asleep.

The Healthy Librarian

@Michele@Vegan Fork:

Here's what my husband said about the Oral-B round brush vs the Sonic Care

They work differently. The Oral-B rotates, & many people have a tendency to leave it too long in one place, which can be damaging to the gums---while the Sonic Care vibrates, so that won't happen. He feels the vibration method does a better of promoting gum health, & removing plaque without causing any damage.

That said--he says, if you're getting great reports with your Oral-B, then you're brushing correctly, avoiding the possible damage, & should just continue with what's working for you. No need to switch. Hope that helps.

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