Tag

detox

Browsing

ginger-benefits

After reading one of our many articles about the healing marvels of turmeric, you may have headed to your local health food store or coop to pick up some raw root. If so, you probably noticed that it’s very often displayed alongside ginger.

These botanically related roots are similar in many ways—they share the same strange gnarled appearance, and they both boast vibrant colors. Most importantly, though, they’re both veritable panaceas. Turmeric has really stolen the show in this arena, but researchers and natural health experts alike are finally recognizing that the medicinal potential of ginger is just as profound.

Like turmeric, ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Nevertheless, mainstream medicine is only just beginning to “prove” its effectiveness for aiding and treating a huge variety of ailments and conditions, as well as its efficacy as a general longevity tonic.

Ginger is one talented little root

Ginger is one spice that we recommend keeping on hand in your kitchen at all times. Not only is it a wonderful addition to your cooking (especially paired with garlic) but it also has enough medicinal properties to fill several books.

If you find yourself nauseous or with an upset stomach, mince up a small amount (about the size of your fingernail) and swallow it. You’ll be amazed at the relief it provides. Yet this is only the beginning…

The most commonly used medicinal part of the plant is the rhizome, the root-like stem that grows underground. It’s a rich source of antioxidants including gingerols, shogaols, zingerones, and more.

Here’s a small sampling of ginger’s healing and life-enhancing applications, as revealed by both modern research and ancient practice.

It’s a “universal” microbial agent. Ginger is wildly effective at combatting all four major categories of microbial pathogens: bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic. It’s more effective than pharmaceutical antibiotics at treating staph infections and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it can even wipe out parasitic worms with 90% effectiveness in less than a day.[1]

These are feats which no prescription drug can boast—and ginger accomplishes them all without harming your body’s cells, beneficial bacteria, or immune system (all of which are significantly compromised by conventional antimicrobial protocols).

It’s more effective than chemotherapy at treating cancer. As we discussed in more detail in a previous article, ginger is also an incredibly potent cancer treatment. Studies have revealed that it’s able to target both cancer cells and cancer stem cells (CSC’s), without harming healthy cells. And the efficacy with which it targets CSC’s has been demonstrated to be up to 10,000 times that of chemotherapy.[2]

It’s a powerful weight loss aid. Despite marketers’ attempts to brand any herb possible as a cutting-edge weight loss supplement, ginger somehow still managed to slip through the cracks. The irony is that ginger is a legitimate metabolism booster and appetite suppressant, and thus it’s a powerful and healthy ally for anyone struggling with weight management.

It’s a superior detox enhancer. Unlike conventional antibiotics, cancer treatments, and weight loss aids, ginger supports the body rather than taxing it. It does so by boosting immune function and supercharging your body’s natural detoxification mechanisms.

It’s even a natural source of melatonin, one of the most potent endogenous antioxidants and detox agents of all (it even has the added benefit of providing deeper, better sleep). Ginger is even able to detox radioactive materials from your body.

It’s a perfect natural anti-inflammatory. As we’ve written about in the past, inflammation is the root of nearly every disease. NSAID’s, steroids, and other conventional anti-inflammatories suppress the immune system and cause all sorts of nasty side effects, including severe gastrointestinal issues.

But ginger has been shown to be effective at relieving the aches and pains of acute inflammation and controlling the chronic inflammation that leads to degenerative diseases and conditions.[3]

And that’s just the beginning. The deeper researchers dig into ginger’s medical applications, the more they become convinced that there’s nothing it can’t treat. Studies demonstrate its ability to treat (and prevent) ulcers, diabetes (and its complications), gastrointestinal conditions, liver disease, menstrual pain, gout, nausea, heart disease, and more.[4]

If this powerful root isn’t already a part of your ongoing dietary or supplement regimen, you’d be wise to include it.

How to use ginger

Many of the studies being conducted on ginger employ isolated extracts of specific beneficial compounds. While the results of such applications have been impressive in their own right, the benefits of ginger are dramatically amplified when you consume either the raw root or a full-spectrum extract.

An increasing amount of evidence suggests that the full spectrum of a medicinal plant’s compounds nearly always works better than an isolated compound—in short, it suggests that Nature got it right the first time.

Nevertheless, it seems like conventional medicine will need to tinker with their “precise” and “scientific” chemical isolates for a while longer before they accept that the original, natural version of a plant’s composition is optimal just the way it is.

To that effect, try to include lots of raw ginger root in your diet if you want to take advantage of its many benefits. I even enjoy juicing ginger root or throwing a 1-2 inch piece of peeled root into my morning smoothie. If you want to try using ginger as a supplement, be sure to find a full-spectrum extract.

Here is an easy, basic recipe for ginger tea, a great way to get fresh ginger!

Easy Ginger Tea Recipe

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon of grated or finely chopped ginger root
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • honey (optional)

How to Prepare It:

Place the ginger in a teapot. Add the boiling water and allow it to steep for 5-10 minutes.

Regardless of which route of you choose, this under appreciated super-healing root is bound to facilitate big changes for your overall health and vitality.

 


 

References

[1] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/ginger-herb-everything

[2] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0137614

[3] http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2005.8.125

[4] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/node/83545

Image source

bpa-receipts - receipt-flickr-derek_b-220

The other day, I watched nervously while a coffee shop cashier dealt with a receipt printing malfunction. She fumbled with the unraveling roll of thermal printer paper, smoothed creases with her palms, and even held one end up of the stubborn reel between her teeth while she fidgeted. When she finally got the contraption working, I declined her offer of a receipt.

Not wanting to hold up the line, I didn’t voice my concerns to her…but here’s what I was thinking: even handling thermal printer paper (especially for hours every day) can be hazardous to your health, and rubbing it on your hands and mouth is downright dangerous.

This is because of a simple but frightening fact: receipt paper is saturated with bisphenol-A (BPA), the potent carcinogen and endocrine disruptor that first gained its infamy as a toxin in plastic containers and water bottles.

We wrote about this incredible destructive chemical in a past article—how it’s a form of “fake estrogen” that hijacks your body’s endocrine system and makes it go haywire. The ensuing dysfunction can lead to devastating issues with fertility and reproduction, metabolism, immune functioning, sleep, and mood. Studies have linked BPA to over fifty different serious health issues.[1]

Despite the impression given by the prevalence of “BPA-Free” plastic (which is still contaminated with other toxins, by the way), the chemical still poses a huge risk to our health and environment. While water bottle manufacturers calm our worries with misleading labels and claims, BPA is still seeping into our bloodstream through the receipts that most of us touch on a regular basis. Even handling paper currency, which is often in close contact with receipts, can be a health risk

[magicactionbox]

How worried should we be about receipts?

As much as I’d like to say that this warning about receipts is a product of overcautiousness, the unfortunate truth is that they do present a clear and present danger. In fact, studies suggest that exposure to thermal printer receipt paper is one of the primary routes by which BPA enters the body—and once it’s in there, it accumulates over time and causes progressively greater dysfunction.

The Center for Disease Control reports that they found BPA in over 90% of urine samples that were taken as a representative of the U.S. population.[2] For this reason—and because of the terrifying ease with which endocrine disruptors can disturb the entire body’s balance—many health experts believe that BPA (and its toxic cousins) can be linked to nearly every health issue facing our society.

And speaking of these toxic BPA analogues, some are even more toxic. Preliminary research has shown that bisphenol S (BPS) is up to one hundred times more toxic and endocrine-disrupting than BPA.[3] Thermal receipt paper contains both of them, as well as a number of other analogues, including PBS and BPSIP.

What you can do to protect yourself

The easy and obvious answer is to decline receipts whenever they’re offered to you. Doing so will probably feel like a paranoid overreaction at first, but just think of this comparison whenever you find yourself at checkout: handling BPA-laced receipts without gloves is like handling paint thinner or other hazardous liquids without proper precaution.

If you religiously use receipts to track your expenses, consider going digital. There’s a number of great smartphone apps that allow you to take pictures of receipts (or input totals manually) and keep track of all your expenses through one handy interface. You might just find that you enjoy not being buried under all those old receipts—and your body will thank you too.

Research has also shown that the absorption of BPA is highly potentiated by some of the chemicals in hand sanitizers, skin moisturizers, and other industrial cosmetic products. Sometimes these products even carry their own dose of BPA and other endocrine disruptors—so you should avoid them anyway. At the very least, be careful not to use any of these products right before or after touching a receipt. This means that washing and sanitizing your hands after touching a receipt could actually worsen the exposure. Staying healthy is tricky these days, isn’t it?

There are also a few ways you can lessen the effects of BPA toxicity. A particularly strong protective effect has been exhibited by certain foods and substances, including kimchi (because of its probiotic, microbiome-supporting capacity), genistein (a phytoestrogen that helps balance the endocrine system), and high-antioxidant teas.

Incorporating detoxification practices into your life is absolutely essential, as well. Read more about how to make detoxing work for you here and here, and read this article to learn more about endocrine disruptors.

You’ll want to try out these BPA-mitigating practices even if you’ve sworn off receipts. While staying away from contaminated thermal printer paper is a step in the right direction, you’ll still be exposed to BPA through rampant industrial pollution—so your body will need all the help it can get. With a little thought and effort, though, you can preserve your personal health and balance in a world that still has a tough time prioritizing either of these ideals.

 


References

[1] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/toxic-ingredient/bisphenol

[2] http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/FourthReport_ExecutiveSummary.pdf

[3] http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/advpub/2015/8/ehp.1409427.acco.pdf

Image source

 

Toxic-Home

Last week we went to look at some homes for sale in our neighborhood.  We walked into one home where I immediately felt I could not breathe.  The air was full of odors from “perfumed” air fresheners and odor eliminators.  After 5 minutes in this house I had to leave… I developed a severe headache and felt I was being asphyxiated.

It occurred to me how many people are using these kinds of products in their homes, with NO idea of how toxic they are!!

People are not aware that in their own homes, they are living among toxins on a daily basis.

Many of the seemingly innocent household necessities are actually potent toxin sources: our appliances, furniture, building materials, cleaning products, cosmetics, and more are all suspect.

Combined with naturally existing toxins (such as mold, fungi, pollen, and dander), all of these offenders can transform your home into a health-sapping minefield. And these nasty toxins can have staggering effects on your health, ranging from suppressed immune function (which leads to more frequent illness) to asthma, heart disease, and cancer.

This phenomenon is so prevalent that there’s actually an official name for it: toxic home syndrome. One researcher says that it “occurs when individuals and families are exposed to a potent mix of airborne pollutants within the home arising from poor ventilation, causing respiratory and skin diseases to occur more frequently.”[1] It’s estimated that tens of millions of homes are victims of it (and that’s almost certainly a conservative estimate).

The home has long been the ultimate symbol of security, a safe and sacred space protected from the chaos of the outside world. But an increasing number of scientists are starting to agree that toxic home syndrome is real.

As crazy as it sounds, mundane tasks like cooking, doing laundry, watching TV, or sleeping in your bed may be dramatically increasing your risk of serious illness and decreasing your life expectancy. In fact, one study conducted in Europe estimated that household pollution could be linked to an annual loss of more than two million healthy life years in the European Union alone.

However, by learning about the most dangerous household toxin sources, you can give your home a detoxifying makeover, so you can rest assured that it’s a safe and healthy place.

The hidden killers unveiled

Research has revealed a startling fact: the air inside an average home contains more than 900 chemicals, the vast majority of which can have deleterious effects on your health.

Here’s some of the most worrisome toxin sources that add to this chemical soup…

Mold proliferation. Mold spores thrive in damp, stagnant places. If allowed to flourish, mold in your home can become a massive impediment to your health. Be especially protective of your bathroom and other areas where moisture often collects. Use mold-resistant shower curtains (and replace them often). Conduct routine mold inspections; check under shower moldings, under the sink, and other tucked away areas, and replace any areas of the room that have been mold-infested. Prevent further mold growth by assuring good ventilation.

Natural allergens. Like mold spores, natural allergens like pollen and dander are bound to make their way into your home. The key is to minimize their effects upon your health by properly ventilating your home, minimizing your use of carpets and rugs (which are a perfect habitat for allergens), and cleaning regularly (make sure you really ventilate the house whenever cleaning, or you’ll just stir up all the toxins rather than eradicating them).

Poisonous gases. A surprising number of noxious gases can get trapped in poorly ventilated homes. Some of them are natural, like radon, which is highly radioactive; it’s released from the Earth’s soil and seeps into your house and even into your water supply. Others are a product of household items, building materials, and everyday processes, like carbon monoxide (which is released through cooking, heating, smoking, incense and candle burning, and every other kind of combustion). Paint, building materials, and furniture materials also often “off-gas” all sorts of toxic chemicals, including lead, formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, and acrolein. If at all possible, replace lead-based paint with certified lead-free paint, purchase furniture that hasn’t been treated with flame retardants, and replace outdated (and most likely toxic) building materials with green materials.

Toxic household products. Industrial products are riddled with toxins of all sorts. I’ve written in detail about many of these toxin sources here, here, and here—bedding, cleaning products, dryer sheets, wrinkle-free shirts, and everything in between all contain volatile organic compound.

While outfitting your entire house with toxin-free products can be a huge task, doing so can also be immensely beneficial to your health—so take it one step at a time. Don’t try to take shortcuts, but just replace all these unhealthful household items at whatever pace works for you.

And speaking of short cuts…   

Air fresheners are not the answer

As awareness around the importance of good house air quality has increased, so has the demand for effective air freshening methods.

While the right air filtration system can be incredibly helpful, it’s very important to acknowledge that the same cannot be said for chemical air fresheners—they are a huge part of the problem, not a solution to it. In fact, they’re arguably one of the worst offenders of all in the “toxic household products” category.

Air freshener products like Febreze and Glade are packed with health-disrupting chemicals that, according to the Environmental Working Group, can cause asthma and other respiratory issues, skin problems, reproductive dysfunction, immune suppression, and cancer. And on top of all that…they’re terrible for the environment.[2]

Febreze is classified as an air freshner, created by Proctor & Gamble. It reports to work by “trapping” odor molecules in a donut-shaped chemical.

The first thing that is really important to understand: the product does not remove odor molecules and it doesn’t clean the item it comes into contact with.

The odor molecules are still there. Your nose just can’t perceive them because you smell the chemical product instead.

That alone should be your first warning. We know inhalation of any chemicals is dangerous, and several of its ingredients listed below are known to irritate the lungs…but this is a chemical whose entire purpose is to be inhaled!

Unfortunately there is not much data being shared on Febreze and their many products, but the Environmental Working Group (EWG) did conduct a test for the ingredients of one of their products, Febreze Air Effects.

Shockingly, P&G only disclosed THREE ingredients in this product, but the EWG…they found 87 chemicals in total!

For lots of tips on how to clean and freshen your home in a safe, sustainable, and healthy way, see my article on green cleaning products, as well as the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

Make home healthy

It may be some time before our society mends its toxic ways. In the meantime, though, you can at least turn your home into a healthy island in a sea of environmental toxins.

By making smart product choices, ensuring proper ventilation, and cleaning regularly, you can ensure that your home remains a safe and health-supporting haven, despite the constant assault of toxins that you may have to bear outside its protective walls.

 


References

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2920391/How-AIR-house-making-ill-drying-washing-using-gas-cooker-15-million-homes-affected-Toxic-Home-Syndrome-increases-risk-heart-disease-cancer.html

[2] http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/1659-FebrezeFabricRefresher

Image source

toxic-deodorant - antiperspirant

For better or worse, hygiene and cleanliness are centrally important in our culture. If you’re like most people, your morning routine probably includes applying some kind of deodorant.

After all, there’s nothing that screams “poor hygiene” like an easily noticeable body odor, right?

The fact of the matter is that sweating and body odor are natural, beneficial phenomena—they allow your body to excrete toxins, and they function as an accurate measure of your body’s chemistry and state of health.

By masking this natural process, you run the risk of closing yourself off from an awareness of what’s really going on inside your body. Just keep this caveat in mind as you read the rest of this article.

The desire to smell pleasant is obviously natural too—and luckily, there’s plenty of ways you can make it happen. Unfortunately, though, conventional product manufacturers have convinced much of the population that their proprietary deodorants are your only hope for smelling clean and fresh on a daily basis. They latch onto the shame of body odor and use it as a psychological trigger. Their commercials are saturated with sex appeal, in order to ingrain a simple association in your mind: using their product will allow you to avoid the inconvenience of body odor, which will ensure that you’re accepted, loved, and perceived as attractive.

Volumes could be written about the dangerous and manipulative flaws behind this kind of marketing. For now, suffice it to say that the convenience of masking body odor comes at a cost—conventional deodorants pose a number of dangers to your health.

Toxins inside and out

First and foremost, conventional deodorants are packed with toxic ingredients (and antiperspirants are even worse). The biggest offender is aluminum, which wreaks havoc on your endocrine system, and has thus been linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other serious ailments.

You can usually avoid aluminum simply by choosing deodorants instead of antiperspirants (aluminum, like other toxic heavy metals, seals the pores and prevents sweating)—but even aluminum-free deodorant products contain other worrying ingredients. Many contain parabens, which are profoundly endocrine-disrupting and linked to just as many health issues as aluminum. In fact, a recent study found that a shocking 99% of sampled breast cancer tissue contained parabens.[1]

Propylene glycol—another common ingredient in deodorants—damages the nervous system, liver, and heart. It can act as a skin irritant in as small as concentration as 2%—and yet this substance makes up 50% of some deodorants. Even most “natural” deodorants contain this chemical, so don’t believe the labels until you’ve read the full ingredient list. Manufacturers get away with including this toxin in their products because its harmful effects manifest in the long-term, so its toxicity is harder to demonstrate. They also are able to tone down its irritant properties by adding steareths, which specifically make harsh ingredients feel more mild to the skin, and also happen to carry 1,4-dioxanes with them as carcinogenic byproducts.

Some deodorants even contain triclosan, which is used as an antibacterial agent and preservative. It’s also a pesticide, as well as a potent endocrine-disruptor that forms chloroform when mixed with tap water.[2] How’s that for convenience?

Last but not least, conventional deodorants and antiperspirants greatly inhibit your body from getting rid of pent up toxins. Thus, their effect is doubly harmful—your body is unable to carry out its essential detoxification functions, and new toxins are being added to your system all the while.

This vicious cycle usually ends up getting people hooked on deodorant products, because if you try to stop using them, your body’s detox processes reboot with a vengeance, and then you smell really bad. If you’re convinced that it’s time to break the cycle, though, here’s some tips and alternatives that will help you take the more natural route.

Special Report: Is Your Soap Messing Up Your Hormones (& causing weight gain)

Dealing with body odor safely and naturally

To reiterate a point made at the beginning of this article, your body odor is a natural measure of your internal chemistry. Strong, unpleasant body odor is almost always caused by one of the following factors: bacterial imbalance, excretion of excess toxins, and stress. So, by dealing with these aspects of your life, you can strike at the root of the “problem,” rather than simply masking it.

Washing frequently with lightly antibacterial soap (only natural types, like those that contain tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils) and ensuring proper microbiome health will help tackle the issue of bacterial imbalance. Avoiding environmental toxins (including those in your own house), as well as processed foods and refined sugars, will help lower your internal toxin load. Keep in mind, though, that many of the healthiest foods are strongly detoxifying—which means that they’ll make you smell worse before you smell better! If you give your body the time it needs to get rid of all those nasty toxins (and continue your optimal hygiene and nutrition regimen), your body odor will eventually neutralize. Lastly, address stress in your life by trying meditation and emotional management techniques.

You’d probably also like to know a healthy deodorant alternative that will be instantly effective, though, wouldn’t you? Fair enough—sometimes life doesn’t afford us all the time we need to let our bodies balance their odor naturally.

Whenever possible, I highly recommend trying out the balancing process described above. In the mean time, here’s a quick recipe for a natural deodorant that’s safe, effective, and easy to make.

Natural, DIY deodorant

¼ cup baking soda

¼ cup organic corn starch

2 Tbsp coconut oil

5-10 drops essential oil (choose your favorite scent)

Mix together the baking soda, corn starch, and essential oil first, and then add the coconut oil slowly until the consistency is to your liking. Fill an empty deodorant container with the mixture, and leave it to set for a couple days. If you tend to sweat heavily, you can add other natural drying agents like bentonite clay and witch hazel.

Give it a try—it’s way cheaper, it works surprisingly well, and you’ll experience a special sense of liberation when you realize that your modern conveniences don’t need to be purchased from unscrupulous companies who fill their products with poisons.

Special Report: Is Your Soap Messing Up Your Hormones (& causing weight gain)


References

[1] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jat.1786/abstract

[2] http://readynutrition.com/resources/5-toxic-chemicals-hiding-in-your-deodorant_30042014/

Image source

sauna_hallenbad02

Saunas have long been valued around the world for the deeply healing and relaxing experience that they offer.

They exemplify the perfect intersection of mindfulness, relaxation, positive social interaction, and active healing. In Finland (where the practice originated), sitting in a sauna is even approached as a sacred activity deserving of reverence.

You’ve probably already experienced the blissful rejuvenation that a good sauna experience provides. If not, you’re missing out!

They’re great for more than just relaxation, though. When integrated into a healthy lifestyle, sauna usage can be powerfully healing for both the body and mind.

Isn’t it wonderful when things that feel good are also good for us?

Here’s some reasons this feel-good activity should be a part of your life…

They’ll teach you to let go

We might as well start with the most obvious benefit of sauna use.

In today’s hectic world, the value of any activity that allows us to unwind, let go, and reset shouldn’t be underestimated.

A sauna session is a great way to step away from our busy schedules and consciously direct our attention toward our health and wellness. Stress-tightened muscles and racing thoughts are no match for a nice, hot sauna sit!

And stress relief is not something to be taken lightly. Stress has been linked to every leading cause of death, and it’s estimated that 90% of all doctor visits are due to stress-related issues.[1]

Through the simple action of setting aside time for a sauna session, you can begin to accustom yourself to prioritizing activities that minimize your level of stress.

They’ll take your detoxing to the next level

It’s nearly impossible to stay vibrantly healthy without regular detoxification practices. Every part of our daily living environment is rife with toxins—and thus, so is your body, unless you take the time to clean it out.

Saunas are an incredibly powerful detox accelerator. Anyone who’s ever used them knows how much they make you sweat—and sweating just happens to be one of the major ways in which the body excretes toxins.

Heat also increases vasodilation, which ensures that optimal blood flow flushes toxins out of muscles and tissue. This process is amplified when you interrupt your sauna session with a cold plunge, which causes immediate vasoconstriction and helps push out stagnant toxins.

The beneficial vasodilation caused by sauna use is so pronounced that one study even found that it increased the endurance of distance runners by up to 32%.[2]

There’s even evidence that the specific kind of heat stress induced by sitting in a sauna raises the body’s levels of detoxification enzymes called catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD).[3]

They increase vitality and decrease the likelihood of illness

Of all the magical feats that saunas can work upon your body, this one is perhaps the most surprising: studies demonstrate that a 30-minute, uninterrupted sauna session can raise your levels of human growth hormone (hGH), which many refer to as “the vitality hormone.”[4]

Human growth hormone is absolutely central to the growth of our bodies and brains. Because of its role as a catalyst for muscle growth, athletes and bodybuilders work awfully hard to keep their hGH levels elevated. How ironic, then, that you can do so just by relaxing in a sauna!

The vitality enhancement offered by sauna use extends to your heart and immune system, as well.

The Cardiovascular and Prevention Centre at Quebec’s Université de Montréal discovered that exercise and sauna dramatically improves the symptoms of hypertension for 24 hours following the session,[5] and a study conducted at the Austria’s University of Vienna found that regular sauna bathers have a far lower incidence of the common cold.[6]

While the mechanisms by which saunas exert their healing power are undoubtedly complex, many researchers attribute it to their unique combination of detox enhancement and tendency to build stress resistance.

Think of a sauna session like a homeopathic dose of stress. Over time, your body develops the ability to deal with stressors in a more effective manner—which leads to a stronger heart, a more vital immune system, and enhanced overall health.

As wonderfully health-promoting as sauna use can be, though, there’s one way that you can take its healing potential to whole new level.

Supercharge your sauna experience with far infrared therapy

Far infrared saunas are similar to those that we know and love, with a slight twist: invisible waves of energy known as far infrared waves (FIR) are distributed throughout the enclosure.

These infrared rays are able to penetrate deeply into all layers of the body, thus deepening the already impressive detoxification, relaxation, and healing that comes along with sauna use.

If this all sounds like some scary new technology, don’t worry: far infrared therapy is an ancient practice. Modern science has shown that our hands, our bodies, and the sun emit FIR rays at all times. This is why “palm healing” and “the laying on of hands” have been such widely used healing techniques for thousands of years.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that far infrared saunas have numerous remarkable healing abilities.[7] Among other things, they’ve been shown to…

Facilitate weight loss by increasing blood flow and stimulating metabolism.

Ameliorate chronic fatigue by relieving stress, decreasing inflammation, and ridding the body of toxins.

Clear skin conditions by cleaning the liver and kidneys, thus relieving the body of its toxin-processing burden.

Boost the immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells and killer T-cells.

Far infrared saunas are now available for installation in your own home (and they’re more affordable than you might expect), and the trend is catching on at many spas and health centers too.

Far infrared or not, just make an effort to become a more regular sauna bather (if you’re not already)…your body and mind will thank you.

 


References

[1] http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00694/Stress.html

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16877041

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24304490

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/999213

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22863164

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2248758

[7] http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-far-infrared-therapy/

Image source

Fukushima-leak

If you’re not worried about radiation, you should be.

Radioactivity is a major health concern in today’s world, both for its enormous toxicity and its worrying prevalence in the environment.

Even prior to March 11, 2011, our exposure to radiation was nearly constant, thanks to x-ray machines and other medical technologies, microwaves, cell phones, and cell towers. The air is a literal super-highway for radioactive frequencies.

Our water and soil is also being continuously polluted by radioactive waste from industrial processes and nuclear power plants, by the way.

And as bleak as this all sounds, things got much worse after Fukushima.

Don’t be fooled by the propaganda: the disaster in Fukushima adversely affects everyone on the planet. It is not an isolated problem, it is not a small or insignificant issue by any stretch of the imagination, and its accompanying dangers aren’t going away anytime soon.

Agencies involved in the incident did a frighteningly good job downplaying its severity and keeping things quiet. Here’s some alarming facts about Fukushima that have been withheld from you…

The disaster is far from over. Even now, well over four years later, the nuclear power plant is barely considered stable. Cleanup efforts continue with bated breath, due to the constant danger of new issues. Conservative estimates state that the cleanup will take forty years.[1]

Fukushima radiation has contaminated the entire globe. Japan is awfully far away…so we have nothing to worry about, right? Wrong. A huge radiation plume crossed the Pacific Ocean and made contact with the US West Coast this year (and we haven’t even seen the peak of the radiation flow, which will occur in 2016).[2] Radiation from Fukushima has been detected in countries all over the world, including Europe, the Canary Islands, and even in the Arctic.[3]

It’s even in our soil, water, and food. The mainstream would like to convince us that post-Fukushima radiation has not reached dangerous levels—but this just isn’t true. Tests of US surface soil reveal a radiation level that is 108 times higher than before Fukushima.[4] Air, water, and industrial food samples from across the US have also been found to contain high levels of radioactive iodine, cesium, and tellurium.[5]

Marine life is in dire straits. If radiation from Fukushima was able to cross the entire Pacific Ocean and contaminate US water and soil, just imagine how strongly it’s affecting marine life. After all, 300 tons of highly radioactive water has already leaked into the ocean, and the danger of further leakage still remains.[6]

So just how bad for you is radiation?

The above facts should make it fairly obvious that, whether we like it or not, radiation is a clear and present danger. But why exactly should we be so concerned about it?

Simply put, highly radioactive materials are among the most hazardous substances on earth.

Radiation causes cellular damage and DNA mutation, which lead to a staggering array of health issues, including cancer, heart problems, asthma, and neurological impairment. And genetic issues caused by radiation damage can affect families for generations to come.

The work of Dr. John Gofman and Dr. Arthur Tamplin has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no safe dosage of radiation.[7] It is lethal in shockingly small doses, and inhaling just 1 millionth of a gram of a radioactive isotope like plutonium will give you cancer.

And we can’t just wait around for the radiation risk to dissipate either. Most radioactive materials take hundreds of years to break down, and some (like radioactive iodine) stick around in the environment for millions of years.

It’s up to you to protect yourself

Because the threat of radiation isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and because we obviously can’t count on our governments and regulatory agencies to warn us of impending dangers…we just need to take matters into our own hands.

Luckily, there’s a number of measures you can take to protect yourself from radiation toxicity.

Regular detoxification practices are a must. Certain foods—especially spirulina, chlorella, and dark leafy greens like kale—will amplify your radiation detox process.

Remember: it’s almost impossible to avoid radiation exposure altogether. The trick is to help your body deal with it more effectively.

Making sure your body receives sufficient iodine is another radiation-fighting practice. Radioactive iodine-131 is among the most feared isotopes released during the Fukushima meltdown. When your thyroid is full of beneficial iodine, though, it is less likely to absorb radioactive iodine.

The most powerful radiation protector of all, though, is an organic compound called squalene.

Squalene to the rescue

Squalene is an unsaturated hydrocarbon that was first popularized as a component of shark liver oil.

It’s wildly anti-inflammatory, immune-supporting, and cell-oxygenating, and it has an uncanny ability to protect against the free radicals created during radiation exposure.

In fact, one study showed that daily intake of squalene led to a 100% survival rate among rats subjected to a lethal dose of radiation.[8] You don’t often see scientific results this astonishing: all of the rats that weren’t given squalene died from radiation exposure, and all of the rats who were given squalene lived.

This is about as close to a magic bullet as it gets.

Until recently, squalene was exceedingly hard to come by (and producing it required the mass murder of sharks).

Fortunately, though, researchers have figured out how to extract it from a plant known as amaranth—which turns out to be the richest source of squalene in the world. Amaranth contains nearly ten times more squalene than shark liver oil!

Amaranth Seed Oil is thus an unparalleled source of squalene, and an essential tool to have in your radiation-combating toolbox.

It’s also sustainable, affordable, and packed with lots of other vitamins, nutrient, peptides, and phytochemicals that support and nourish your entire body.

So give amaranth seed oil (as well as the other practices listed above) a try. We may live in a toxic and irradiated world, but that doesn’t mean we should just throw in the towel. With the proper tools and a little follow-through, we can protect ourselves and our families from even this gravest of dangers.

 


References

[1] http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/nuclear/40-years-of-fukushima-cleanup-timeline-7210953

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22469934

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22300482

[4] http://livingmaxwell.com/radiation-japanese-earthquake-worse-than-thought-marco-kaltofen

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22456673

[6] http://rt.com/news/fukushima-record-radiation-leak-616/

[7] http://www.beyondnuclear.org/storage/pandoras-false-promises/Aug23_2013_Pandora%27s%20False%20Promises.pdf

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8355581

Image source

detoxifying-foods

Despite its growing popularity, detoxing is still commonly associated with relatively fringe health circles.

It usually entails the use of “cleanses,” “fasts,” or other extended practices intended to catalyze a massive release of toxins all at once. These practices also usually require a good deal of time, energy, knowledge, and discipline to do safely and effectively. Unfortunately, these requirements make detoxing inaccessible for most people.

Make no mistake, though: detoxifying practices are immensely important for maintaining vibrant health. We live in a veritable sea of toxins, courtesy of our industrial society’s pollutive onward march. You can read about some of the most important toxin sources to avoid here, here, and here.

The moral of the story is this: even if you think you’re living healthily, you still need to help your body detoxify, because just existing in the world ensures that you’re bombarded by toxins on a daily basis.

The accumulation of toxins in your body will disrupt hormones, enzymes, and even metabolic processes, damage your cells through oxidation, and flood you with free radicals. These conditions lead to chronic inflammation, decreased disease resistance, sapped energy levels, and an extended list of long-term health problems.

Days could be spent cataloguing all the correlations between the increased presence of environmental toxins and the increased incidence of a specific disease and disorder. Just to cite one example: glyphosate—the prevalent toxin in Monsanto’s RoundUp pesticide—has been correlated for the development of autism, obesity, gastrointestinal issues, depression, cancer, allergies, Alzheimer’s, infertility, heart disease, and more.[1] And that’s just one toxin with which our body has to cope.

If all that data still doesn’t make intensive cleansing and fasting feel worth the effort, don’t worry…there’s an easier way.

Turn your body into a detoxifying machine

While it’s ideal to set aside time for a conscious and directed detox, you can get most of the job done simply with proper lifestyle design.

The simplest possible practice is to learn about the most dangerous and most insidious environmental toxins, so that you can avoid them. The fewer toxins make it into your body in the first place, the easier your detoxification will be.

Perhaps even more important, though, is the inclusion of detoxifying foods in your diet. Your body is a miraculously designed, self-preserving machine, but it can get bogged down under the weight of our toxic world. Detoxifying foods ensure that it always runs at full capacity, and therefore that it’s able to handle whatever comes its way.

With the help of these foods, the body is able to take care of toxins immediately, so that they’re not allowed to accumulate and cause systemic issues.

So which foods are most detoxifying?

The number of dietary choices available these days can be overwhelming. So, instead of listing a bunch of seemingly unrelated foods, let’s jump into the general principles that can be used as orientation points when planning a detoxifying diet.

First of all, it’s important to remember a clean, simple, and consistently healthy diet is superior to an unhealthy diet with a few detox “superfoods” sprinkled throughout it. When in doubt, just always strive to eat lots of living vegetables and healthy fats and proteins, and to minimize your intake of sugars, grains, and other carbs.

When it comes to prioritizing specific detoxifying foods, it’s helpful to categorize them according to how they aid detoxification within the body. Two of the most easily identified categories are antioxidants and chelators.

Antioxidants protect your body from the oxidizing effects of toxins, which can lead to a proliferation of disease-causing free radicals. We’ve written before about some of the world’s greatest food sources of antioxidants: turmeric, kale and other crucifers, healthy fats like coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and avocado oil, probiotic sources like kombucha, pomegranate, coriander seed oil, and even CBD, one of the non-psychoactive alkaloids in cannabis.

Chelators help the process of actually removing toxins from the body (antioxidants simply neutralize their harmful effects, rather than removing them). They do so by binding to toxins and heavy metals, which makes it much easier for your body to excrete them safely. Two of the best chelators around are marine algaes called spirulina and chlorella, which are the top sources of chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants).

Lastly, there are some multi-talented foods and compounds that fit into both categories. Raw cacao is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet, and because of its vasodilatory effect, it also helps flush toxins by opening up blood flow throughout the body.

And vitamin C is another miracle worker. It works as an antioxidant in its own right, and also helps the body synthesize glutathione, the most powerful endogenous antioxidant. While it’s not technically a chelator, it optimizes so many of the body’s natural detoxification systems that it deserves to be in this “jack-of-all-trades” category.[2] While it’s fairly easy to get vitamin C from foods, you can supercharge your detoxification and defense systems by supplementing with higher doses—just make sure to take plant-extracted vitamin C rather than synthetic (it’s very difficult for your body to process most synthetic vitamins, and you end up excreting most of them in your urine).

Keeping your system balanced

By eating a clean diet that consistently includes both antioxidants and chelators, you’ll be tapping into the innate intelligence of healing foods. This intelligence allows you to optimize your body’s own cleaning potential, so that you can avoid the “detox, re-tox” cycle that many of us get stuck in.

Unless you live in an extraordinarily unpolluted area that is equally insulated from toxic consumer products, you might still have to undertake a detox regimen from time to time, in order to keep your system in tip-top shape. But awareness of the toxin sources to avoid, coupled with a little dietary discipline, will go a long way in helping you live a healthy and radiant life unhindered by toxins.

 


References

[1] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/09/monsanto-roundup-herbicide.aspx

[2] http://besynchro.com/blogs/blog/9393529-why-detoxing-matters-the-best-simple-detox-strategies

Image source

coriander_16x9

Industrial society has trained us to believe that good health is something that only modern medicine can provide—that true healing only comes in the form of expensive and proprietary products, pills, and technologies.

But sometimes the greatest health solutions are also the subtlest and most ancient ones. And more often than not, you can find them right in your own kitchen.

Here’s a prime example: coriander (also known as cilantro) is a healing dynamo with a whole host of uses and benefits.

It’s also delicious, as you’re probably aware. If you’re not already accustomed to keeping it around the house, here’s some great reasons why you should consider doing so.

You can use it to help detox

Regular detoxification practices (link: detox) help keep us healthy in today’s toxic world. Coriander is particularly good to removing heavy metals from our bloodstream through a process called chelation.

Unfortunately, heavy metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium are ubiquitous in our environment (mostly as industrial byproducts). They destroy the immune system, undermine neurological function, and sap your vitality.

Use cilantro to protect yourself from heavy metal toxicity by juicing it or throwing it in your smoothie. Combining it with lemon, jalapeno, and chlorella (a maybe a little granny smith apple or beet for sweetness) creates one heck of a detox juice.

It’s an anti-diabetic agent

The secretion of hormones throughout the body (including insulin) is regulated by the endocrine system. When its processes are thrown out of balance by endocrine-disrupting toxins (which are everywhere, by the way), the risk of diabetes increases (and the dangers become greater for those who already suffer from diabetes).

Coriander aids the endocrine system, regulates the secretion of insulin by the pancreas, and ensures that the proper amount of sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. By this same process of hormone regulation, coriander also helps reduce menstrual cramps.

So while there’s no substitute for proper diet and lifestyle when it comes to treating diabetes and insulin resistance, coriander offers excellent support along the way.

It lowers cholesterol

Another prevalent health problem that coriander helps combat is high LDL (the bad cholesterol), which is one of the leading causes of heart attack and stroke.

Coriander contains oleic, linoleic, palmitic, ascorbic and stearic acid, all of which have been shown to help remove cholesterol deposits in arteries and veins.[1]

It’s powerfully anti-bacterial

We’ve mentioned the pitfalls of antibiotics before.

The prevalence of antibiotic-resistant infections like MRSA is continuing to increase. And even when antibiotics do work, they wreak havoc on our microbiome, which often never recovers from the shock.

This worrying predicament makes it fairly obvious that we need an alternative solution…and coriander may be just the ticket. It packs quite a powerful anti-bacterial punch on its own, and its high vitamin C content simultaneously helps your immune system effectively fight infection.

You can dramatically amplify its anti-microbial properties by using it in the form of high-quality coriander seed oil, which is a highly concentrated distillation of the plant’s medicinal components.

A study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology showed that coriander seed oil is highly effective against a wide range of bacteria—including antibiotic-resistant infections.[2] And best of all, it will target harmful bacteria without adversely affecting your gut flora.

It aids in digestion

Not only does coriander not upset your microbiome while working its anti-bacterial magic, but it also actively helps your digestion.

Its antioxidants help regulate liver function and bowel movements, and it even aids in the production of digestive enzymes. Soaking coriander seeds in water (or using coriander seed oil) works wonders for indigestion.

It even makes your skin beautiful

Did you know that proper digestion and healthy gut flora help make your skin clean, clear, and radiant?

By helping keep your digestion on track, coriander indirectly contributes to healthy, beautiful skin. It also directly encourages clear skin with its vitamin-rich, detoxifying, antiseptic, antioxidant, and anti-fungal properties.

You can even use coriander seeds and coriander seed oil to treat eczema, mouth ulcers, rashes, inflamed skin, pimples, and other skin conditions.[3] Just mix coriander paste with honey and turmeric, and apply it to the skin.

It even works on allergy-related skin conditions (coriander oil functions as a general anti-histamine, and can also relieve seasonal allergies like hay fever).

It supports eye health

This same cornucopia of vitamins and antioxidants that encourages healthy skin also makes coriander an excellent preserver of optimal eye health.

Its natural phytonutrients, vitamin A, vitamin C, phosphorous, and myriad other essential oils all reduce eye strain and age-related degeneration.

Coriander seeds can even be used to prevent and treat conjunctivitis (pink eye) and other eye diseases. To treat conjunctivitis, many health experts recommend making cold compresses soaked in coriander-infused water, or even flushing the eyes with coriander water.[4]

Ready to add some more coriander to your life?

It’s always convenient when natural healing tools are also delicious. Fresh cilantro is always a treat—add it to eggs, salads, stir frys, or any other recipes that you enjoy. It works particularly well in curries and chutneys (coriander is a frequently used spice in Indian cuisine).

And remember, if you want to reap the full healing benefits that coriander has to offer, consider using coriander seed oil (especially the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections).

You’ll be amazed by the healing power that this little plant packs…and I bet you’ll be inspired to turn some of your focus from Big Medicine to more of the natural healing wonders that are all around us.   

 


References

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18831331

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21862758

[3] http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-coriander-seeds/

[4] http://www.findhomeremedy.com/11-home-remedies-for-pink-eye-or-conjunctivitis/

Image source

5-anti-inflammatory-superfoods

Inflammation is a colossal health problem in our society.

While it tends to be associated only with aches, pains, and stiffness, its deleterious effects on the body reach far deeper. Most health experts now agree that inflammation is the root of the vast majority of diseases.

Here’s why: inflammation is a defense mechanism that focuses your immune system’s attention toward fighting a perceived threat. This means that the immune system’s ability to fight off other bugs and pathogens is compromised.

Furthermore, inflammation itself is incredibly destructive to the body. It impairs cognition, saps the blood of nutrients, slows down metabolism, and contributes to emotional imbalance.

These “side effects” of inflammation are considered to be necessary evils by the body, which evolved its inflammatory immune response as a way to respond quickly and drastically to emergency threats. Effectively healing a wound or protecting a pulled muscle from permanent damage, for example, is worth a bit of inflammation-induced stress on the body.

The problem is that these days, our bodies are kept in a near-constant state of inflammation.

Why are we so inflamed?

It may seem strange (if not poetic) that the root of all our diseases is the overreaching of our own bodies’ defense mechanism. The story is a bit more complicated, though.

Our modern lives are inundated with immune system triggers—stimuli that, for better or worse, our immune systems perceive as threats. Food allergies, toxins, and stress are the biggest culprits.

Chronic inflammation is usually considered to be the effect of an “overactive” immune system—as though your immune function is confused or malfunctioning. Is this really what’s happening, though, or do we just live in an insanely toxic and stressful world?

After all, both stress and environmental toxins are clearly real threats, to which the body has every right to react defensively. Even the most common food allergies are simply your body alerting you to clear and present danger (most people assume that there’s something wrong with their body if they can’t process gluten, dairy, or peanuts, but the truth is that all of these foods contain substances that are objectively difficult for the human body to process).

Therefore, in order to combat inflammation, we need to help our bodies cope with this continuous onslaught of immune triggers. One of the best ways to do so is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet.

The perfect anti-inflammatory diet

Designing an anti-inflammatory diet starts with common sense. First and foremost, get rid of everything that’s obviously detrimental to your health, like processed foods, sugars, and GMO’s.

Keeping your consumption of red meat and omega-6 fatty acids to an absolute minimum is helpful too, as both are directly linked to higher levels of inflammation.[1]

Once you’ve removed some of these stressors from your regular diet, you can add in more of the good stuff. As a general rule, a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables (especially leafy greens, low-sugar fruits, and other veggies) and healthy fats is an anti-inflammatory one.

But let’s dive a little deeper.

To achieve the perfect anti-inflammatory diet, you’ll want to consume foods that have the following four properties: antioxidant activity, chelating (detoxifying) activity, nutrient density, and hormone-regulating activity.

While there’s an abundance of foods that meet these criteria, I’ll focus on a few that are especially powerful.

Raw cacao was called “the food of the gods” by the ancient Aztecs, and for good reason. It contains over 300 enlivening compounds (many of which are strongly anti-inflammatory), has 20 times the antioxidant power of blueberries, and is packed with vitamins and minerals.[2]

Acai berry is a low-sugar fruit that outshines the antioxidant potential of nearly every other food (with the exception of raw cacao). It also directly decreases inflammation and speeds up the body’s metabolism.[3]

Detoxifying supergreens. You can’t really go wrong with greens; they’re an invaluable part of any healthy diet. Some greens are particularly special, though. Alfalfa, dandelion, dulse, and kelp pack the most powerful nutrient punch per serving, and they’re also potent antioxidants. Spirulina and chlorella are chelators, which means they supercharge the body’s detoxification processes and accelerate the removal of heavy metals and other toxins.

Maca is a South American root that’s been used for thousands of years as a vitality elixir. It’s one of the most potent and intelligent hormone regulators around, and it’s also been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.[4]

Turmeric is a true health superstar, as evidenced by thousands of studies. There seems to be no ailment that turmeric can’t tackle, and it’s one of the only foods in the world that has all four of the anti-inflammatory properties discussed above.  

 


References

[1] http://www.pnas.org/content/112/2/542.abstract

[2] http://foodfacts.mercola.com/cacao.html

[3] http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Acai-compound-shows-potent-anti-inflammatory-activity-Study

[4] http://www.naturodoc.com/library/nutrition/maca.htm

Image source

sneaky_toxin_sources

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a world free of manmade toxins? A world in which clean water, pure air, and optimal health is more important than profit margins and short-term schemes?

A world in which everyone holds themselves to the same high standard of accountability? A world in which you can trust that you’re not constantly surrounded by hidden sources of toxins?  

I’d like to think we’re on our way there. Unfortunately, though, that’s just not the way things are at present.

Staying healthy is a full-time job these days—mostly because we always have to be on the lookout for unwitting toxin sources.

Personal care, diet, and fitness obviously play an essential role, but even if you’re playing all your cards right, your health can still suffer considerably because of environmental toxins.

Below, you’ll find a list of unexpected toxin sources to avoid at all costs.

Don’t be overwhelmed; just take action, one step at a time. Start by removing just one toxin source from your life, and build up from there. This process should be empowering, not paranoia-inducing.

Let’s start with the basics…

Processed foods. It’s hard to take three steps in a grocery store without bumping into processed foods. Any product that is even a single step removed from its natural form should be considered processed.

Processed foods are designed to be overstimulating and addictive.[1] Creating such “designer junk foods” destroys nearly all the nutrients its ingredients may have contained. Synthetic vitamins and nutrients are sometimes added after the fact, but these are a poor replacement at best, and toxic at worst.

And to top things off, processed foods are filled with destructive substances like high-fructose corn syrup,[2] preservatives, colorants, artificial flavors, and texturants.

Many chemicals like this that have been deemed “safe” by the FDA in the past were later found to have deleterious effects on the body. The FDA will only ever investigate chemicals that they believe pose a serious danger—so just know that you’re rolling the dice by consuming any of them.

Non-organic produce. Organic products have been all the rage for years now, but because of the high price that they command, it can be tempting to justify the purchase of more affordable, non-organic food.

How bad could it possibly be?

Pretty bad, unfortunately.

Evidence is mounting that the pesticides and other various chemicals that are sprayed on conventional produce are adversely toxic. A widely published study claiming that there is little difference in the healthfulness and safety of organic and non-organic produce is now being harshly criticized and overturned.[3]

And don’t think that you can just wash off these noxious chemicals either—many of them are absorbed by the plant’s internal structures. In the case of GMO foods, toxicity is incorporated into the plant at a genetic level.

Unwashed produce. Even some organic produce is contaminated with pesticides and other toxic chemicals, so be sure to wash everything before eating it.

The most effective method is to submerge your produce completely in room temperature water, and then lightly scrub each item.

Avoiding dietary toxins

This probably isn’t anything you haven’t heard before.

If you’re already avoiding non-organic and processed food, excellent. Here’s some dietary toxin sources with which you may be less familiar, though…

Mycotoxins in wheat and corn. Here’s a shocking statistic of which very few people are aware: a large percentage of the grains available in the U.S. has been exposed to toxic mold (because it’s nearly always stored in commercial silos for long periods of time).[4]

When wheat and corn is exposed to mold, dangerous byproducts called mycotoxins are developed. Even though cooking will normally destroy any mold that’s present, the mycotoxins will remain intact.

Mycotoxins sap your energy, suppress the immune system, interfere with nutrient absorption, and disrupt metabolic and hormonal functioning in the body.[5]

While reducing (or even eliminating) your consumption of wheat and corn can be a difficult task, it’s really the only surefire way to protect yourself from mycotoxins.

And in case you still need some convincing, there’s a whole host of other reasons why you should banish wheat from your diet.

Damaged fats. Fats have gotten a bad rap in the past. Recent dietary fads (like the Paleo Diet) are starting to get the right idea, though—that the right kind of fat is incredibly healthful.

While whole books could be (and have been) written on this subject, here’s the basic gist that you should keep in mind: a fat becomes toxic when it is unstable, and thus becomes damaged and oxidized by the heat of cooking. The fats that are prone to this damage are called unsaturated.

The unsaturated fats that you’ll want to avoid (usually in the form of cooking oils) are as follows: corn oil (which can also contain mycotoxins, as explained above), canola oil, sesame oil, and anything else generically labeled as “vegetable oil.”

Stick with oils that contain lots of saturated fat, like coconut oil, palm oil, butter, and ghee.

Avoiding household toxins

And then there’s the myriad of toxin sources that surround us within our own homes. Here’s some of the biggest offenders, as well as some suggestions for how to neutralize them…

Plasticware. By now, you’re probably aware of the pitfalls of plastic.Even plastic products that are marketed as “non-toxic” are a gamble. Plastic contains many other chemicals besides those that are now considered toxic. Just because a company labels a given chemical as “non-toxic,” it doesn’t mean that future research won’t reveal the contrary.

So play it safe, and use as few plastic products as possible.

If you can’t eliminate plastic entirely, at least minimize your risk by not heating or freezing any plasticware (which accelerates the process of chemical leaching).

Never put plasticware in the dishwasher. Doing so will leach all those nasty chemicals and then redeposit them on all your other dishes!  

Furniture. A staggering percentage of mattresses, couches, and pillows contain flame retardants that have been shown to cause cancer and birth defects.[6]

High levels of these ridiculously toxic chemicals have been detected in people’s blood, which confirms that they easily enter the body when our skin is in contact with these household items, and even when we breathe the dust in our houses.

The process of “detoxifying” your house by replacing all your toxic furniture is certainly a daunting (and expensive) one. Just be aware of these dangers, and take one step at a time to clear your living space.

Start small: at least replace your pillows, then tackle the larger, more expensive pieces of furniture when it’s possible to do so. Isn’t your health worth the time and the cost?

Cleaning supplies. Taking one whiff of most cleaning supplies on the market is enough to confirm that they’re full of toxins. After years of coating our counters and tables, washing our clothes, and “freshening” the air in our house, these toxins accumulate to very dangerous levels.

And don’t believe everything you hear about “green cleaning products” either. Some of the top eco-products on the market still contain chemicals with demonstrable adverse effects.[7]  

Even seemingly inoffensive dryer sheets are bad news. Nearly all of them contain a whole host of terrible chemicals that cause burning skin, respiratory irritation, anxiety attacks, and irritability—like formaldehyde and chloroform, just to name a few that you’ve probably heard of.[8]

So always do your homework before purchasing any cleaning product. Better yet, read this article to learn how to make your own (it’s easy, I promise).

Creating your own sanctuary

Avoiding these toxin sources will have a huge effect on your health.

We may live in a toxin-laden world, but we shouldn’t just sit back and let ourselves be bombarded. Awareness is always the first step. Let the information that’s been presented sink in, and then start to take measures to protect yourself, bit by bit.

 


References  

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22016109

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23594708

[3] http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/120-a458

[4] http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/321551/aer828h_1_.pdf

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12857779

[6] http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es303471d

[7] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/simply-green-washing-are-you-using-toxic-cleaner

[8] http://www.lifenatural.com/dangers_of_laundry_dryer_sheets.htm

Image source