Human Trafficking: It's Closer to Home Than You Think


Today I set out to learn more about human trafficking. Trafficking of human beings exists in our backyards. It's not just a crime that happens in other countries as we like to think. Even so, it took until last year in Dubai for me to truly face what is going on in our country. As I traveled through Dubai to my vacation in Bali (I am amazed at the amount of privilege I have) I was struck by a glaring polarization of wealth/beauty in Dubai and lack of humanity and consciousness occurring at the same time. There are many kinds of human trafficking in Dubai, but I was struck by this common story.

A woman from the Phillippines is promised a better life for her family. She could go to Dubai for a year, work for a family and earn a wage as a housekeeper that would be almost impossible for her to make in the Phillippines. She is promised that she will be treated fairly and compensated generously. If it doesn't work out, she can leave whenever she likes.

When she gets to Dubai, she finds an entirely different situation. Her passport is taken away. She has no money and is completely dependent on the family she works for. She is made to work 18-20 hour days, and is raped by the head of household. When she becomes pregnant by rape, she is disgraced, beaten, physically punished, and arrested. Otherwise, she must quietly carry the pregnancy to term and dessert her baby on the streets so that they both have a chance of living.

Too much to take? It's awful, and it happens all over the world, including right here in the United States. The International Labor Organization estimates that nearly 21 million people worldwide are enslaved. The state of California has the highest number of suspected or identified human trafficking cases. In fact, the Bay Area is one of the top 13 locations for child sex trafficking in the US according to the FBI.

Human Trafficking consists of labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Both men and women are victims of human trafficking: 55% women and girls, and 45% men and boys.

If you find all of this shocking and a little bit overwhelming, you certainly wouldn't be alone. I have been finding myself thinking a lot about what I can do to help.  Today I did a free consumer training through Stanford online school. It only takes an hour. The link is here. It helps us to recognize victims of human trafficking and know what to do next. You can take the training yourself, share it with friends or in the workplace, and also educate yourself as a consumer.

Consumer demand drives the marketplace. Just as I have talked about in posts with chemical free beauty and healthcare product demand, the same is true of fair trade labor. We can demand, as consumers, that our favorite brands create and follow a policy on human trafficking and fair trade. This is truly in our hands.

Below are some tips that came from the training today, and great resources to learn more and help out.

Ways to get involved as a consumer:

  • Buy Fair Trade when available
  • Look up your favorite brands on to see what their public statement on human trafficking is. Urge them to consider this if they already do not. This business is great for business owners who want to understand their supply chain.
  • Compare brands: download the Free2Work app, and take a look and compare your favorite brands to assess how their doing in fair trade


RESOURCES TO KEEP ON HAND (From the training).



U.S. Department of State - Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

Don't underestimate your ability to help with consciousness and awareness! Let's all do this together.

In Health,

Jen Riegle, ND

*Please see your doctor or schedule with Dr. Riegle for personalized medical advice.

The Mall- A Danger to your Health?


My body doesn’t do malls anymore. I know, this might be a confusing and somewhat comical statement, but it’s undoubtedly true. I walk in and am immediately taken aback by the wall of fragrance in front of me. When it’s not the perfume coming from almost every other stand in the middle of the mall, it’s fragrance from the major retail shops, preservatives, fresh car smell, and industrial cleaner. There’s one thing all of these smells have in common- they’re TOXIC. I’m not a big fan of malls anyways, honestly, but today I went in to stop at a kiosk to get my husbands phone screen, recently shattered, fixed. Time to step out of my little Naturopathic bubble for a second and do what I love most- share what I have learned over the years.

Fragrance contains phthalates, and it’s coming through your skin just from being in the environment. Think you’re good because you don’t apply it directly? Unfortunately this isn’t the case. It’s better of course, not to put the chemicals directly on your skin, but being air-bathed in them is not safe either. Our skin not only eliminates chemicals as we sweat, but it absorbs them as we go about our everyday lives.  In many cases, though we often only think to cover our mouth and nose when we are exposed to airborne chemicals, many chemicals actually accumulate just as much or more through the skin than the lungs.


What are Phthalates?

Phthalates are chemicals that are found in fragrances, nail polish, deodorants, shampoos, adhesives, inks, pill coatings, and flexible plastics like PVC. They disrupt your normal hormone activity, including estrogen and testosterone.

Unfortunately, phthalates accumulate quickly in the body, mostly in fat, and are excreted slowly. They are toxic to the liver, kidney, lungs, brain, immune system, and nervous system.


It drives me crazy that these chemicals are used like they are, not just for the consumer, but for the hard-working men and women who are exposed to them every day at work.


What Can You Do?

·      Avoid them as much as possible. Use a natural scent or none at all, natural deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, nail polish, and lotion. Avoid plastics, especially that are touching your food or drink. This means avoiding plastic containers to put your leftovers in, plastic water bottles, and packaged food that comes in plastic. Do your research- the Environmental Working Group has an application called SkinDeep, where you can put in your body care products and see what chemicals are in them, as well as a rating for how toxic they are.

·      Detox Yearly, at least. Let’s get real. We live in a toxic world. When I test patients that are even the most conscious, they have chemicals in them. I recommend a detox at least 1 time per year, and more like 3 if possible. If you’re wondering how to detox these chemicals safely, that’s a good question for a Naturopathic Doctor. We specialize in detoxification.

·      Urge members of your community to avoid using and selling toxic products. What sells depends on demand. If there is a demand, there will be a supply. The best way to decrease the chemicals in our environment is to stop using them and monetarily supporting them. Demand that your favorite brand carry clean products! If enough of us do this, then we will have something to work with!  


In Health,

*Please see your doctor or schedule with Dr. Riegle for personalized medical advice.

Fertility Boost Ice Cream

Eating healthfully doesn't have to be all dull and drag. This recipe proves it! If you're trying to get pregnant, on a ketogenic diet, have diabetes or PCOS, or just wanting to be healthy, this is a great option for you! You can make it dairy free by taking out the butter/ghee, and make it vegan by omitting the butter and eggs! Best part- it's delicious!



  • Vitamin D or Vitamin K drops
  • Chaga powder
  • Ground Chia seeds
  • Fresh herb like mint, lemon balm, lavender, or rosemary.


Add the coconut oil, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and butter/ghee to a pot, and heat until all is melted. Let cool. Add the rest of the ingredients in a blender. Blend together, and add to an ice cream maker, and presto! You have ice cream!


Why it's good for fertility:

Fat is such a necessary part of fertility that if we don't have enough, we won't get pregnant! Eating an adequate amount of healthy fats actually signals your body that you're ready to reproduce! It's low sugar, to support your health and blood sugar (so good for people with PCOS!) and the fat actually helps you become a healthier weight if you are on a ketogenic diet!

Dr. Jen Riegle is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) who practices in Santa Rosa, CA. Dr. Jen specializes in women's health, infertility, and oncofertility. If you live in the Bay Area and would like to make an appointment, you may schedule on our website or by calling (707)-243-8998.

*Please see your doctor or schedule with Dr. Riegle for personalized medical advice.

Childhood Cancer and Your Child's Fertility

When your child gets a diagnosis of cancer, the last thing on your mind is probably 20 years from now. You want to get them through the day, through this year, to their next birthday. But as our treatments for cancer get better and better, and as survival rates go up for childhood cancers, it's becoming more of a concern what your child's future will look like when they make it through this.

The hard facts are that often, cancer treatments affect long term fertility. Even if your child is very young, their fertility organs (testis or ovaries) are very susceptible to injury by chemotherapy or radiation. The time to think about your child's fertility is now, before any treatment. Even though this can be difficult, it is best to have all options available if possible. In an overwhelming time, you may want to take advantage of a patient advocate, the work that I do for oncofertility patients, as well as others do. There are many new advancements in the field of oncofertility have given options to parents who want to consider their children's fertility. Below, options are separated by before and after puberty for males and females.

For Children Who have Not Gone Through Puberty

For Children Who Have Gone Through Puberty

Additional Options

  • Donor Egg
  • Donor Sperm
  • Gestational Surrogate
  • Adoption

For a consult with Dr. Riegle by phone or in person regarding your child's personal risk for infertility, options for fertility preservation, and other resources, schedule here.

Dr. Jen Riegle is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) who practices in Santa Rosa, CA. Dr. Jen specializes in women's health, infertility, and oncofertility. If you live in the Bay Area and would like to make an appointment, you may schedule on our website or by calling (707)-243-8998.

*Please see your doctor or schedule with Dr. Riegle for personalized medical advice.