Toxicity

Does Fish Oil Cause Cancer? What You MUST Know About Fish Oil!

The most widely consumed supplement in North America today is Fish Oil.  Fish Oil is a concentrated source of Omega-3 fats (EPA/DHA) and has been touted for it’s ability to reduce inflammation and has been proven effective in medical studies to reduce the risk of heart disease, joint pain, breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.

But a shocking new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has shown that men who consume the largest amount of fish oil have a 71 percent higher risk of (high-grade) prostate cancer and a 43 percent increase in all types of prostate cancer.  The study was conducted on 2,227 men of which 38% of the men had prostate cancer.1

According to researcher Theodore Brasky from the Ohio State University Medical Center, “These fish oil supplements in which some men are getting mega, mega doses, in our opinion is probably a little bit dangerous.”

What is a “Mega-Dose”?  The American Heart Association considers taking up to 3 grams of fish oil per day “safe”.  Most physicians would say that taking 2+ grams daily is a mega dose.

So should you stop taking your fish oil immediately because of this study?  No.  But should you take a look at how much fish oil you take and what brand you take?  Yes.

But before we just into the type of Omega-3’s you should be getting, let’s talk about WHY fish oil could increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer.

The answer here is IMBALANCE.  Most people know that omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids need to have a balanced ratio.  Most studies conclude between a 1:1 and 4:1 ratio having slightly more omega-6 fats is ideal

The average american’s diet has a ratio that is probably somewhere closer to 17:1 which causes inflammation and risk on chronic illness.2

But, that doesn’t mean that you should go and take a “mega-dose” of fish oil every day.

Another thing I want to clear up is that Omega-6 fatty acids aren’t bad for you. In fact, if your diet contains too many omega-3 fatty acids, your immune system wouldn’t work very well.

That’s because omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are meant to work in a system of checks and balances. Omega-3 fatty acids suppress inflammation and omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation which actually supports your bodies natural system of defense like activating your white blood cells.

So, if you consume too many Omega-3 fats (EPA/DHA) you can actually weaken your immune system.

Does it make sense now how overconsumption of Fish Oil and not getting the proper ratio of Omega-6 fats with them can cause prostate cancer?

Where to get your Omega-3’s and how much

Your best way to achieve balance is by getting your omega-3’s from food sources because if the animal has been raised right and plants grown right they already have a healthy ratio.  I still think it is beneficial for some to supplement with a high quality fish oil or cold liver oil but not over 1,000mg daily if you are eating healthy.

I also want to mention there are different types of Omega-3 fats which are ALA, EPA, and DHA.  ALA is found in certain nuts, seeds, and pastured animals where EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish like salmon.

In the study we have discussed they did not find a link between ALA (alpha linolenic acid) the type of omega-3 fat found in pastured animals and plants  and prostate cancer.

What is the difference between EPA, DHA, and ALA?

Your body really needs EPA and DHA for the anti-inflammatory benefits.  Your body can break down ALA into EPA/DHA but many can’t break it down very well.    Your body can convert anywhere from 8% to 60% of ALA into EPA and 5%-25% DHA.3  And that conversion factor really depends on your diet and health of your digestive tract.

That being said, I believe it is important to get all three types of Omega-3 fats in your diet on a regular basis.

For your best sources of Omega-3 rich foods I recommend

  1. Cold water fish like salmon, halibut, tuna, mackerel, and sardines
  2. Pasture raised beef, lamb, wild game, free-range eggs and raw dairy
  3. Chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp seeds, and walnuts
FoodOmega-3Omega-6
Wild Salmon1303380
Sardines1693123
Tuna129853
Chia Seeds49151620
Flaxseeds63881655
Walnuts24009900
Grass-fed Beef100400
Pastured Eggs102558
Pastured Dairy130203

Meat sources 100g, Nuts/Seeds 28g, Dairy 1 cup

Benefits of Omega-3’s not to be forgotten

There is a large amount of research proving that omega-3′s reduce inflammation caused by excess omega-6 fatty acids, trans fats, toxins in the environment and other sources. Reducing inflammation reduces your risk of arthritis and heart disease. Omega-3′s are especially important for brain development, brain function and behavior.  Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to dry skin, depression and mood swings, heart problems, fatigue, memory problems and poor circulation.

Scientific evidence for the benefits of fish oil is strongest in regards to helping heart disease, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels.  Omega-3′s also lower blood pressure as well as normalizing heart rhythms, treating atherosclerosis and lowering risk of stroke. In fact, eating just two servings of fish a week can lower stroke risk by 50 percent.4

Preliminary studies suggest that omega-3′s may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and joint pain associated with inflammatory bowel disease may also be relieved with omega-3 supplementation.5 Joint pain in those with lupus may be reduced by omega-3′s.6  In terms of osteoporosis studies show that omega-3’s slow bone loss and increase bone density.7

Because of omega-3′s role in brain function, researchers have looked at whether omega-3 fatty acid supplements help relieve depression and many studies have proven its effectiveness.  Also, there is strong evidence that omega-3 fats improve ADHD and also help Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive decline and dementia.8

There are also several studies that suggest omega-3 ingestion can reduce the risk and slow the progression of colon cancer and lower the risk of breast cancer.9

Should I still take Fish Oil?

I think that if you are consuming wild caught fish a couple of times a week and have a diet high in pastured animals fats and plant based omega’s like chia and flaxseeds then taking an omega-3 supplement might not be necessary.

However, I follow the above diet and still on occasion do take a fish oil supplement.  BUT, I don’t just take ANY fish oil supplement.  I would consider many of the fish oil supplements available today to be unhealthily.  Buy a reputable brand and don’t take something you picked up at the drug store.

Look for fish oil supplements that contain anti-oxidants like astaxathin and rosemary to keep the oil from oxidizing.

When taking a fish oil supplement I would NOT typically take more than 1000mg daily.  Remember, the key is balance.  If you want all of the health benefits of omega-3 fats without any of the negative side effects get your omega’s from food sources and supplement with a mild to moderate of dose of fish on days that you do not consume wild caught fish.

Where do you get your Omega-3′s?

References

1 Brasky TM, Darke AK, Song X, Tangen CM (2013) ‘Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial’, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 10(1093)174.

2 Simopoulos AP (2002) ‘The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids’, Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, 56(8), pp. 365-79.

3 Harper CR, Edwards MJ, DeFilippis AP, Jacobson TA.  Flaxseed oil increases the plasma concentrations of cardioprotective (n-3) fatty acids in humans. The Journal of Nutrition.2007;137(12):2816

4 “The Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trial Results. I. Reduction in Incidence of Coronary Heart Disease,” JAMA, 1984, 251:359

5 Ruggiero C, Lattanzio F, Lauretani F, Gasperini B, Andres-Lacueva C, Cherubini A.. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and immune-mediated diseases: inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Current Pharmaceutical Design.2009;15(36):4135-48

6 Clark WF, Parbtani A, Huff MW, Reid B, Holub BJ, Falardeau P.. Omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplementation in systemic lupus erythematosus. Kidney International.1989;36(4):653-60

7 Maggio M, Artoni A, Lauretani F, Borghi L, Nouvenne A, Valenti G, Ceda GP.. The impact of omega-3 fatty acids on osteoporosis. Current Pharmaceutical Design.2009;15(36):4157-64

8 Hooijmans CR, Pasker-de Jong PC, de Vries RB, Ritskes-Hoitinga M.. The effects of long-term omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on cognition and Alzheimer’s pathology in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.2012;28(1):191-209

9 Christian Nordqvist Medical News Today. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Slow Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/259069.php (accessed June 8 2013).

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The Truth About Organic Foods from China

There are articles all over the Internet right now about “fake organic” food from China. Wanting to keep you informed, I read through many of them. The problem was, they all seemed to quote other sources and reading on, I found that these sources quoted other sources and so on. There didn’t seem to be any credible first-hand sources for this information. Was this all just rumor run rampant, as Whole Foods claims?

Whole Foods has been accused of selling these “fake organic” foods from China but they claim that “any product sold as organic in the US, regardless of where it’s grown, must be certified to the USDA’s National Organic Program standard by a USDA-accredited certifier.”

Well, I wanted to know more about this USDA certification of imported organics. It took quite a bit of digging but what I eventually found was more disturbing than any of those copycat articles.

I found frightening information about all food from China, frightening lack of regulation concerning organic food from China, and, worst of all, shocking information about our National Organic Program (NOP).

Before I go on, I want to reassure you about your options. You don’t have to break the bank buying all of your foods organic. Read which foods are commonly pesticide-ridden and those that usually aren’t in How to Buy Organic. I’ll tell you about the “beyond organic” movement that has arisen in response to NOP problems. Check out this source here to learn more, What is Beyond Organic?

Chinese Food Safety Issues

First of all, I was surprised to learn how much food the US imports from China: China is the third-largest source of food imports according to a 2009 report by the Economic Research Service (ERS). For example, 60 percent of our apple juice and over half of the garlic we use in the US is from China. The ERS claims that food safety is a critical issue with Chinese imports but that “there are no simple solutions to addressing the safety hazards since they appear to occur in many different types of foods at all links in the supply chain.”

Reading through the USDA article “Imports From China and Food Safety Issues” is alarming. The FDA regularly refuses shipments from China because of filth, unsafe additives, veterinary drug residues and mislabeling. Filth violations and unsafe additives are the most common violations in Chinese imports and reading what constitutes “filth” is only recommended to those with strong stomachs.

What this report did make evident is that pollution in China is so prevalent that even more stringent regulation is unlikely to make great improvements in food quality there. The ERS reports that banned agricultural chemicals are still used and even when they’re not–they still exist in the soil and water. Many farms are in industrial regions where air, water and soil pollution is concentrated, especially in terms of cadmium and lead levels. Animal and human waste spoil the water, many workers don’t have hygiene awareness and fraudulent record-keeping is common.

More information about pollution in China can be found in the Stanford Journal of Internation Law ”Is ‘USDA Organic’ a Seal of Deceit?” by Chenglin Liu (print).

Is “USDA Organic” a Seal of Deceit? covers the pitfalls of USDA Certified Organics Produced in the United States, China and Beyond. This article was originally published in the summer 2011 issue of Stanford Journal of International Law and is available for a fee on many scholarly studies websites. To avoid subscription prices, you can read this article via your local or statewide library. Based upon court cases and the evidence presented in them, this white paper was my most disturbing find.

In terms of pollution, author and law professor Chenglin Liu reports that only five percent of household sewage and 17 percent of industrial sewage in China is properly treated.  A Chinese government study found that 90 percent of Chinese groundwater is polluted. China is the world’s biggest user of chemical fertilizers and one of the largest producers and users of pesticides. Worse of all, Chinese farmers traditionally did use organic methods. When farmlands were socialized in the 1960′s, they were forced to use new farming techniques, fertilizers and pesticides by the Chinese government. After decades of such heavy use of agricultural chemicals, soil quality has decreased to the point that USDA economist Fred Gales claims that it is “almost impossible to grow truly organic food in China.”

Organic Certification in China

I also took a look at the 2010 USDA Foreign Agriculture Report, an organic report on China. The authors of this report surmise that because of increasing demand within China and worldwide, within 10 years, China may “become the fourth largest organic market in the world.” They report that food safety issues in China make organics a profitable market. Consumers are willing to pay 300 percent more for organic asparagus, 10 times more for organic beef, and generally, five to 10 times more for all organic vegetables. This kind of profit drives unscrupulous practices.

Organic certification in China is wildly diversified. The Chinese Organic Food Certification Center (COFCC) is supposedly in charge but only certifies about 30 percent of organic products. The rest are certified through third parties, private firms, individual inspectors and international firms. As of 2010, the authors report that there is no agreement between China and the US as what constitutes organic. They also report that organic standards are poorly enforced in China, that no clear authority exists, that mislabeling is common and that many producers use expired organic labels. Some organic companies don’t even produce their own food but subcontract to others. Some companies label their goods as organic when only a tiny portion of their produce is grown organically.

Importing Practices

Professor Liu reports that there are three ways that imported foods can be sold as organic in the US. 1) Foods can be certified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent, either US-based or foreign-based; 2) foods may be stamped with the USDA seal if the US has a recognition agreement with that country, an agreement that the country’s own certifying agents can use this seal because they follow US organic regulations; 3) equivalency agreements exist through which the US and other countries agree that their organic standards are equivalent.

We don’t have an equivalency agreement or a recognition agreement with China so technically, Whole Foods is right: organic food from China must be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier. But here’s the rub. There aren’t enough US certifiers to go around, only about 94 exist. The USDA certifies agents in China to certify farms and other producers. In 2007, an audit of two farms and four certifiers in China found many issues of noncompliance. For example, the certifiers had little experience with organic certification stipulations, often didn’t even understand them, and in once case, a German-based certifying company in China didn’t even provide the NOP organic standards to applying agents.

Also in 2007, the USDA realized that the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) had been using employees from the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection. It would be in their best interest to push organic certification no matter what actual practices were taking place. The OCIA certifies 1800 organic operations in 11 countries, 233 in China. It took three years for the USDA to take action and suspend OCIA for one year, and they didn’t tell the American public until 2010.

Professor Liu finds Whole Food’s rebuttal ridiculous because it claims equivalency in organic standards and certification whether the food is from US or beyond. Liu points out that in one instance, the USDA granted conditional accreditations to certifiers based only on paperwork and didn’t check to see that they complied with conditions set forth for seven years.  NOP regulations only stipulate a once-yearly check on farms and Liu reports that China’s government agencies can’t even enforce their own laws, never mind that of the US.

Corruption in China

Why did China keep having problems with tainted milk and products made with this milk? Because local governments cover up such scandals as a matter of course. These local governments are closely tied to food manufacturers and it is in their best interest economically to boost manufacturing any way they can. The court system also has ties with food manufacturers reports Liu, and the news media is controlled by the Chinese government. Bribes for licenses are common and ethics aren’t very strong in the food industry in China. The use of additives to enhance look and taste, for instance, rule over health concerns.

Farmers in China don’t voluntarily choose to grow organic: they’re ordered to. Village leaders are in charge of farm cooperatives and are the gatekeepers for USDA certifying agents. An agent might be shown a sampling of organic farming rather than all the practices within the cooperative and many farmers reported that that didn’t know what organic meant or what they were supposed to do. Local officials commonly disrupt, delay or circumvent certifier’s tours of these farms.

Fraudulent labeling is very common in Chinese food manufacturing and because so many departments and agencies are involved in this chain, there are plenty of ways to duck under the radar. For two years, Jiahe products were carried on Carrefour, Wal-Mart and other grocery chain shelves even though they weren’t verified to be free of pesticides.

In terms of corruption, Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines and Thailand all rank worse than China. Yet these countries are the top ten suppliers of fruits and vegetables to the US reports Liu.  Growing demand for organic food drives imports. Liu reports that 40 percent of the organic food consumed in the US is imported from over 100 other countries.

Fake Organic in the US?

Then there’s the National Organic Program. The US certainly isn’t immune to corruption. The NOP was instituted because small farmers thought regulation would protect them. Instead, as the organic industry has been co-opted by mega-corporations, loopholes in organic standards and regulations become cavernous.

Those small farms? They’ve been gobbled up by big business and organic practices become industrial organic practices. Kellogg now owns Bear Naked and Kashi, Heinz and Hein own 19 organic brands. Coca-Cola, Con-Agra, General Mills, Kraft, and Mars M&M own most of the market. Michael Pollan reports that “five giant farms control fully one-half of the $400 million organic produce market in California.” To see who owns your favorite organic brand, check out this info graphic,  Organic Sells Out to Mega Corporations.

The truth is, there is no perfect standard.  But in general, organic foods are typically of higher quality than conventional.  Even then, I would recommend not buying foods from China whether it’s organic or not.  Support companies who are willing to show you there production methods and be completely transparent like Beyond Organic.  I also recommend shopping at your local farmers market and asking them how they produce their foods.  Buying local or from a single owned organic company is your safest bet when buying any foods including organic.

Lessons Learned

  • Chinese imports are a common part of US food supply.
  • Environmental pollution in China makes any food grown there hazardous or nutrient-deplete.
  • Organic regulation of Chinese foods is a joke.
  • Corruption is common in many of the countries that contribute to US food sources, organic and otherwise.
  • Organic regulation in the US has been severely compromised by corporate interests.
  • It’s better to know the person that provides your food than rely on organic certifications.

 Sources

Peoples Republic of China: Organics Report, October 26, 2010

“Is “USDA Organic” a Seal of deceit? The Pitfalls of USDA Certified Organics Produced in the United States, China and Beyond.

USDA.gov – Imports From China and Food Safety Issues

The Organic Watergate—White Paper: Connecting the Dots: Corporate Influence at the USDA’s National Organic Program

www.nytimes.com Michael Pollan: Behind the Organic-Industrial Complex

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Are You Vitamin D Deficient?

vitamin-d-sunlightRecently the importance of the often forgotten vitamin D have come into the spotlight. Study after study reveals that low levels of vitamin D enable disease progression in the body while adequate levels of this sunshine vitamin not only decrease your risk of disease but also helps to fight off diseases already in place.

(There are five known types of vitamin D. D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5. For our purposes here we are speaking of vitamins D2 and D3.)

5 Reasons You May be Deficient in Vitamin D

For a number of reasons, many people aren’t getting enough daily or weekly vitamin D, leading to vitamin D deficiency. You may not get enough vitamin D if:

  • You don’t get enough sunlight. If your body has regular exposure to the sun, it’s typically able to get the vitamin D it needs. However, many people don’t get enough sunlight simply due to the amount of time they spend indoors, whether it’s due to work, lifestyle or cold weather.
  • You wear sunscreen. If the moisturizer you use has an SPF value, it will block UVB rays and will not allow your body to produce any vitamin D. You can use a moisturizing, safe, NON-SPF cream to moisturize your skin. I personally use organic coconut oil to moisturize my skin, as this provides a host of other benefits as well. After your exposure simply stay in the shade, cover up with light weight clothes or if you still want to be in the open sun, use a non-toxic lotion with SPF15 for uncovered skin, read more about toxic sunscreens here. Be sure to stay on the safe side of burning.
  • You have darker skin. People with darker skin need more exposure to the sun to get the same amount of vitamin D as people with lighter skin.
  • You don’t take supplements. It’s very difficult to get enough vitamin D from the foods you eat alone.
  • Your body needs more vitamin D than usual if you’re obese or pregnant.

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

stacked-stones-in-sunlightDetecting a vitamin D deficiency from symptoms alone is difficult because the common symptoms are vague, such as tiredness or general aches and pains.

More severe symptoms of vitamin d deficiency are pain in your bones and overall weakness and difficulty getting around. Some people may get frequent infections. It’s important to remember that some people, if not most, may never get these symptoms.

This is why it’s so important to have your blood levels tested to determine your vitamin D levels.If you think you may have vitamin D deficiency, you should see your physician or have a blood test to check your vitamin D levels.

 Chronic Diseases Fueled by Vitamin D Deficiency

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Cavities
  • Cold & Flu
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Diabetes 1 and 2
  • Eczema & Psoriasis
  • Hearing loss
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Infertility
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Insomnia
  • Macular degeneration
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis Crohn’s disease
  • Muscle pain
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Periodontal disease
  • Pre eclampsia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seizures
  • Septicemia
  • Signs of aging
  • Tuberculosis

In a recent study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that leukemia patients with low levels of vitamin D at their diagnosis were twice as likely to die and progressed at a faster rate than those with adequate vitamin D levels. They also discovered trends revealing that higher levels of vitamin D matched with longer survival times and decreased progression of the disease.

D. Alexander Parker, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Urology at Mayo Clinic in Florida, suggests that one-quarter of Americans suffer from low levels of Vitamin D.

In fact according to data obtained by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 7.6 million children across the USA were vitamin D deficient. This is defined as less than 15ng/ml of blood.

The Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for bone health as well as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. It is vital for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. In addition it has been found to:

  • Regulate and support the immune system
  • Maintain healthy body weight
  • Reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis
  • Maintaining brain function as you age
  • Reduce severity and frequency of asthma symptoms
  • Reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in women

How Much Vitamin D Should You Get?

Check out the chart below for the recommended amounts of vitamin d. Again, it’s worth pointing out that the only way to accurately know is to test your blood.

Vitamin-D-Dose-Recomendation

How Do You Get Vitamin D?

The best source of vitamin D is from the God given sunshine.

couple-on-sunny-beach

It is recommended that you should get ten to fifteen minutes of sun on the face, arms, hands, and back at least two times a week.  Be careful to stay on the safe side of burning.

However, for some people living in areas of the world where it’s not easy to get adequate sunlight, I recommend supplementing with a high quality Vitamin D3 supplement.

If you’re struggling to get the advised amounts of sun exposure try a high quality supplement such as Garden of Life’s Vitamin Code Raw D3 available here.

4 Best Food Sources for Vitamin D3

  1. Wild Caught Salmon (and other fatty fish like tuna, mackerel and sardines. Not Tilapia)
  2. Raw Dairy like cheese and yogurt
  3. Eggs
  4. Mushrooms

What’s the Best Time of Day for Vitamin D?

The best time of day to get sunlight exposure for vitamin D is noon. 

It’s essential to know and maintain healthy levels of vitamin d to protect against disease and disability later in life. For this reason, it’s important to get proper testing to know your levels of vitamin D.

How to Test Your Vitamin D levels at Home

As I mentioned earlier, having a blood tests to measure the amount of vitamin D in your blood is the only way to know if you’re getting enough vitamin D or not. The blood test you need is called a 25(OH)D Blood Test. You have a few options for testing, the two below are very easy and straightforward:

1. Order an in-home test. These tests are simple to use. Order online and a test is sent to your home. You prick your finger and put a drop of blood on to blotter paper, then you simply send the paper to a laboratory to be tested. You can order an in-home test at www.zrtlab.com.

2. Order a test online and get blood work done at a lab. Here in the U.S., you can bypass your doctor and go straight to the testing laboratory. There are a few websites that will assist you in this: mymedlab.com, healthcheckusa.com. You can buy a 25(OH)D test from all of these companies and have the test itself done at your nearest LabCorp. These tests do tend to be slightly more expensive than in-home tests.

Interpreting your test results isn’t complicated either. This chart can be used  to determine if you’re severely lacking in vitamin D (deficient), mildly lacking in vitamin D (insufficient) or if you’re already getting enough vitamin D (sufficient). Vitamin D range guidelines from various organizations:

Vitamin D range guidelines from various organizations

It’s suggested that 80-100 ng/ml is the ideal level to aim for. This is why the Vitamin D Council recommends adults take 5,000 IU/day of vitamin D supplement in order to reach and stay at this level.

 

Lessons Learned

  • Vitamin D is essential for bone health but also has been shown to help reduce the risk of numerous diseases.
  • Americans are dangerously deficient in vitamin D levels.
  • The best source of vitamin D is God’s provided sunshine.
  • The second best option is supplementing with Raw Vitamin D3.
  • Your third source is foods like salmon, raw dairy, eggs, and mushrooms.
  • Test your blood to determine accurate levels of vitamin D.

 

Sources:

 

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Supplement Dangers: Are your vitamins processed with hexane?

Many of us take vitamins and other supplements regularly in hope they will make us healthier and maybe to fill in gaps in less than perfect diets. But, the significant problem with the supplement industry is that many companies do not disclose toxic solvents used to process the vitamins they make. Of particular concern is a substance called hexane, generally used as an industrial-strength cleaner,  degreaser and a component in gasoline, but is also used in a variety of supplements and other natural food products to extract certain nutritional components.

Why is hexane dangerous?

According to the World Health Organization, a single exposure to hexane can cause vertigo, dizziness, and drowsiness. It is also a skin irritant. Long-term exposure may cause neuropathy, anorexia, and diminished reflexes. The FDA does not currently set a limit for hexane in most foods with the exception of hops and spices which are allowed to contain up to 25 ppm or 2.2% per weight. Since there is no specific limit set by the FDA, food manufacturers do not have to disclose the use of hexane in their products.

Most of the research on toxicity of hexane involves inhalation of the chemical. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets the limit of exposure to inhaled hexane to 50 ppm over an 8 hour work day. Over 50 common household products contain hexane, so for those of at home it is difficult to determine the amount of daily exposure.

Supplements that may contain hexane

Products containing soy meal, from infant formula to protein bars, have been discovered to contain hexane. Certain soy foods may contain up to 21 ppm, including products such as energy bars and veggie burgers. For soy products hexane is used as a chemical solvent in order help separate fat and protein. The fat is then turned into vegetable oil and the protein is made into protein bars, baby formula, and veggie burgers but with the hexane residue still in the food.

Fish oil and lycopene supplements may also be processed with hexane, therefore it is important to know how these supplements are made.

What supplements and vitamins are safe?

In order to reduce your risk of exposure to dangerous chemicals, it is vital to know where your supplements come from and what type of manufacturing practice the company uses. The manufacturer should be willing to disclose any chemical coatings or solvents that are used.

In choosing supplement it is best to research the company to understand their manufacturing practices. Avoid supplements made by pharmaceutical companies. Choose companies that use real, whole foods in their supplements and not synthetic vitamins. The vitamins or supplements should also be raw-based. Look for vitamins that are gluten-free, soy free, and do not contain any preservatives or artificial colors. You take vitamins and supplements to help improve your health, so do a little research to make sure you get the best quality product available.

Lessons learned:

  • Many vitamins and supplements are processed with a toxic chemical called hexane.
  • Hexane exposure can result in neuropathy, dizziness, and diminished reflexes.
  • Soy products, fish oil, and lycopene may all be processed with hexane.
  • Do your research before taking any supplements. Opt for raw products that do not contain allergens or preservatives.

 

 

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Is Nectresse Safe? The New Natural Sweetener by Splenda

Sugar consumption is a big health problem in the US. As renowned endocrinologist Dr. Glenn Braunstein explains the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar in their food and drink every day.

Public reaction to statistics like these inspired food manufacturers to seize a new opportunity: convince the public that artificial sweeteners could satisfy their cravings without negative health effects. Then, after a slew of studies began questioning such claims food producers saw another opportunity: sell the “natural” angle.

Nectresse™ is a response, by the makers of Splenda®, to the success of the “natural” sweetener stevia. But even sweeteners created from natural products aren’t really natural: they don’t exist as they do in nature. And any sweetener can affect your health in negative ways, leading to sweet addiction, weight gain and unhealthy eating. You can read more about these effects in my article “Sweet Addiction: Artificial Sweeteners Not So Sweet After All.

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Which is More Deadly: Aspartame or Sugar?


Did you know that people who drink diet sodas to lose weight, actually tend to gain weight!? Aspartame is one of those food industry inventions we should have known was too good to be true. A sweet taste, with no calories, that will allow us to consume sweets without the added guilt or damage to our waist lines…who doesn’t wish that was actually possible? But, aspartame is actually linked to over 92 adverse health effects.

Sugar creates its own health problems and aspartame is not a better or healthier alternative, regardless of the calorie savings. Think of this quote, “Would you rather be hit in the head with a wooden bat or a metal bat?”

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Disney Growing GMO Foods

Growing up, my family loved Disney World!  We used to go to Disney for spring break every few years and I can still remember being so excited as a kid.  Actually, I think my mom was even more excited and she still likes to sport her favorite Winnie the Pooh shirt I got her a few years ago at Christmas.

So when I heard genetically modified foods are now being grown at “the happiest place on earth”, I was pretty disappointed.

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Stop Using Canola Oil Immediately

It’s my hope that you’ll never use Canola Oil again! Why? Because of GMO’s (more on this below) and the harmful side effects from the processing of this oil. You know that Olive Oil comes from olives, and that Sesame Seed Oil comes from sesame seeds. It would make sense that Canola Oil comes from Canola Seeds, right? Well, there’s actually no such thing.

Canola is a made-up word which stands for “Canadian oil low acid”, and is a genetically modified product. It is a Canadian invention that is backed by the government. It’s a cheap product to manufacture, and many processed or packaged foods contain canola oil.

Canola oil was first bred in the early 1970′s as a natural oil, but in 1995 Monsanto created a genetically modified version of canola oil. By 2009, 90% of the Canadian crop was genetically engineered and as of 2005, 87% of canola grown in the United States was genetically modified.

Facts You Should Know About Canola Oil

The name of canola oil was originally LEAR (Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed) but for marketing purposes was changed to canola oil. This word was derived from the combination of the phrase, “Canadian oil.” Canola oil is a much more appealing name than LEAR oil or rape oil. But is the oil appealing for you and should you be using it in your foods?

Canola Oil is produced from the rapeseed plant, which is a part of the mustard family. It works well as an industrial oil, not a food, and has been used in candles, soaps, lipsticks, lubricants, inks and biofuels. In it’s hybridized and modified state it can cause a large number of health issues that you will see below.

Now that we have figured out how to genetically modify rapeseed oil, we sell it as an edible product. It has been brought to market with the claim that it is a wonder oil, that is low in saturated fats, and has omega-3 fatty acids. Originally, rapeseed oil may not have had so many negative health effects but for two main reason’s most canola oil today is harmful to you body:

#1 Over 90% of Canola Oil is genetically modified

#2 Canola Oil is a partially hydrogenated oil

It’s for these two reasons I recommend you switch to healthier oil alternatives that I list at the conclusion of this article.

What can it do to you? There have been NO long term viable studies done on GMO canola oil, but there are reports on the internet that it has caused many kidney, liver, and neurological health issues. This would make sense since there are other reports that GMO products like corn and soy also can cause negative health effects.

A 2011 review published in Environmental Sciences Europe, 19 studies of mammals fed GMO soybeans and corn were evaluated. The 90-day long trials indicate liver and kidney problems as a result of GMO foods.  Kidney’s were disrupted by 43.5% and liver by 30.8%.

Rapeseed Oil is a monounsaturated oil, and has high levels of erucic acid. Erucic Acid is a fatty acid that is associated with heart damage, specifically Heshan’s Disease, a disease that manifests itself with fibrotic lesions of the heart.

In the 1970′s, food manufacturers came up with a method to genetically modify the rapeseed plant by seed splitting. This process produced a canola oil with less erucic acid, and higher amounts of oleic acid, which lead to additional concerns with canola oil, like:

  • Blood Platelet Abnormalities
  • Retards Normal Growth (Illegal in infant formulas)
  • Free Radical Damage
  • Higher Cancer Risks Due To The Hydrogenation Process

It’s also important to understand that this new processed oil goes through many steps, most of which harm the nutritional value and actually change the oil’s structure causing it to become hydrogenated oil.

According to the Weston A. Price foundation and Fat Experts Sally Fallon and Mary Enig state:

“Like all modern vegetable oils, canola oil goes through the process of refining, bleaching and degumming -all of which involve high temperatures or chemicals of questionable safety. And because canola oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which easily become rancid and foul-smelling when subjected to oxygen and high temperatures, it must be deodorized. The standard deodorization process removes a large portion of the omega-3 fatty acids by turning them into trans fatty acids. Although the Canadian government lists the trans content of canola at a minimal 0.2 percent, research at the University of Florida at Gainesville, found trans levels as high as 4.6 percent in commercial liquid oil. The consumer has no clue about the presence of trans fatty acids in canola oil because they are not listed on the label.”

Those are the types of oils you want to avoid like the plague: Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated oils!

Trans fatty acids are the result of this hydrogenation process. These are hazardous by-products, and are health destroyers. You should stop cooking with these oils as well: Corn Oils, Safflower Oils, Soy Oils, and Vegetable Oil.

Food manufacturers are not required by law to tell you if their products contain GMO’s. It’s up to us to be well informed, and read the labels. Monsanto has been incorporating genetically modified organisms in its canola oil seeds, and now we know that Monsanto has also been selling GMO seeds for the following plants:

  • Canola
  • Alfalfa
  • Corn
  • Cotton
  • Soybeans
  • Sugarbeets

How to Choose A Good Oil

  1. When you’re buying a cooking oil, consider these things:
  2. Choose a “Cold Pressed” or “Extra Virgin” type.
  3. Should be available in glass containers.
  4. The bottle should be a dark color for olive oil, and kept in a dark place once opened.
  5. Make sure it is GMO-free.
  6. Go with Organic.

What does Extra-Virgin Mean? It’s simply another way of referring to “cold pressed”, which means that the oil was made by using pressure to extract the oil from the seeds, grains, nuts, etc., and there was no heat utilized during the processing. Heat causes a degrading of the nutritional value of the oil. Extra Virgin also means that no chemical solvent was used, nor was it deodorized or altered in any way.

What Oil to Use Instead? I personally use:

Coconut Oilcoconut oil is best when it’s cold pressed and virgin. Do NOT buy refined coconut oil. Your coconut oil should smell like you’re on a beach in the Caribbean. It has a high heat threshold and contains MCFA’s Medium Chain Fatty Acids that can support fat-loss and your nervous system.

Olive Oil – I don’t recommend Olive Oil for cooking but it has tremendous health benefits and is at the heart of the Mediterranean diet. Look for extra virgin olive oil and use it on salad’s and other cold dishes.

Organic Pastured Butter / Ghee – Contains ALA and CLA which can promote weight loss. Also, contains healthy short chain fatty acids and has a higher heat threshold. Stick with Organic only when buying butter.

Red Palm Oil — Red palm oil is made from the palm fruit instead of the palm kernel, and in its unrefined state, it is high in vitamin E and beta-carotene. It’s also stable under high heat and great for cooking.  Make sure when buying palm oil that it is certified sustainable.

Now that you’re armed with the facts, use them to guard your health! Stay clear of Canola Oil, and all GMO foods.

Sources and resources:

Look for foods with the Non-GMO label. More info here: nongmoproject.org

Check out the Non-GMO Shopping guide here: nongmoshoppingguide.com

Beckie, Hugh et al (Autumn 2011) GM Canola: The Canadian Experience Farm Policy Journal, Volume 8 Number 8, Autumn Quarter 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2012.

“Richard Keith Downey: Genetics”. science.ca. 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-29.

MG Enig, Trans Fatty Acids in the Food Supply: A Comprehensive Report Covering 60 Years of Research, 2nd Edition, Enig Associates, Inc., Silver Spring, MD, 1995.

S O’Keefe and others. Levels of Trans Geometrical Isomers of Essential Fatty Acids in Some Unhydrogenated US Vegetable Oils. Journal of Food Lipids 1994;1:165-176.

JL Sebedio and WW Christie, eds. Trans Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition, The Oily Press, Dundee, Scotland, 1998, pp 49-50.

Storgaard, AK (2008). “Stefansson, Baldur Rosmund”. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-12-29.

Seralini GE, Clair E, Mesnage R, Gress S, Defarge N, Malatesta M, Hennequin D, Vendomois JS. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food and Chemical Toxicology.2012;50(11):4221-4231

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Splenda Side Effects

Splenda-packetWe are all familiar with the little yellow packages of Splenda that promise to satisfy our sweet tooth without the extra calories and the carbohydrates. You may have used Splenda in place of aspartame and saccharine and the -now banned by the FDA- cyclamate because you know they are composed of dangerous chemicals. And Splenda is natural, right? Well, not quite.

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Reduce Acidity, Lose Weight and More with This Pepper

Cayenne pepper can stimulate your body’s circulation and reduce acidity. It’s a powerful, spicy little pepper and touts many health benefits like helping decrease appetite and retarding or slowing the growth of fat cells. This is one of the reasons why I included it as an ingredient to my Secret Detox drink, and why it holds the number one spot in my list of the top 7 fat burning foods.

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The Many Health Benefits of Fasting

While most people need to address the foods they DO eat, before considering skipping meals, intermittent fasting can provide you with many benefits, and is another tool you can experiment with to help you reach your goals.
There’s been a significant amount of research on fasting and the benefits it can have on our bodies. Typical intermittent fast times range from 14 to 18 hours. The longest period any one of these plans would require you to abstain from solid food would be about 32-36 hours.
It’s important to approach fasting in a serious manner and be sure to listen to your body. However, please keep in mind that proper nutrition becomes even MORE important when fasting, so addressing your diet really should be your first step.

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Bread is Worse Than You Think

If you’ve considered my healing food diet, you may already know that bread, while seemingly innocent and marketed as healthy, is worse than you think!
For starters, bread is likely one of the saltiest foods in your pantry. Data from the CDC shows that a single slice of bread contains around 100 to 200 mg of sodium. In comparison, an ounce of potato chips only has about 120 mg of sodium in comparison.

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1 Weird Way to Stop Tooth Decay

We all know that brushing and flossing daily can help with tooth decay, but it won’t always keep you out of the dentist chair.
Amalgam inserted into cavities are loaded with toxic mercury which can leach into your body. Root canals have been discovered to be the root of some chronic illnesses. There’s a number of health topics here when it comes to your mouth.

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Is Your Pillow Toxic?

When you hear the word pollution, what do you think of? My guess is that images of factories full of smoke come to mind, or rivers and oceans filled with debris, oil and sludge. No one ever associates pollution with their comfy pillow, mattresses and bed sheets. I’m here to tell you that it may be time to reassess your idea of pollution and where it could come from.

The Dangers That Lie in Your Pillows and Bedding

Fungi

Researchers in England reported that the average pillow contains millions of fungal spores. At the university of Manchester, various samples from feather and synthetic pillows were studied. Each pillow had been used about 18 months, and some for as long as 20 years. Scientists found the same type of fungus that can contribute to problems such as leukemia. These types of fungi may also be responsible for increasing the symptoms of asthma or allergies.

Flame-Retardants

If you look at the cushion of a sofa or a bed mattress made with foam, you’ll find a small white tag which states: “This article meets all flammability requirements of California Bureau of Home Furnishings technical bulletin 117.” The law, TB 117, was passed specifically for California in 1975. It states that the foam found in furniture must be able to resist a flame from normal household items like a cigarette lighter or a candle. Big furniture makers applied this standard to their furniture in all 50 states, rather than making different furniture for California.

Researchers and scientists are now debating whether this policy is safe or if it’s actually causing more harm than good.

There’s really only one way to produce flame retardant foam: with chemicals. And lot’s of chemicals, as each foam cushion requires up to 2 pounds of flame-retardant chemicals.

Scientists have linked these dangerous chemicals to neurological damage, endocrine disruption and even cancer. Some of these chemicals are may also be found in pillows, bed sheets and blankets.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance states that more than 80 percent of furniture sold in the U.S. contains foam treated with flame retardant chemicals.

Since the law was passed in 1975 most of the highly dangerous chemicals have been phased out, but they’re still present in older furniture. Donald Lucas, a flammability scientist at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, states that:

“Once the fire gets to the foam, the sofa’s going to burn. It’ll burn just as well with the fire retardant as without it.”

So why include these chemicals? The short answer is to simply follow the money. A recent bill had support from big furniture makers, firefighter groups and even doctors. All groups wanted to remove the chemicals from furniture, but the bill died. Every lawmaker who voted against it had received campaign contributions from the chemical industry.

One specific flame-retardant to be aware of is polyurethane, it’s found in the foam and emits Polybrominated-Biphenyl-Ethers (PBDE). PBDE’s are known for being hormone disruptors which can accumulate in the placenta and even contaminate a mother’s breast milk. Another danger connected to these compounds is the fact that they aren’t biodegradable. They accumulate in the air in your house, contributing to pollution in the home.

Formaldehyde

In view of its widespread use, toxicity and volatility, exposure to formaldehyde is a significant consideration for health. Formaldehyde is known to cause tiredness, insomnia, headaches, coughing and skin irritation. In June 10, 2011, the US National Toxicology Program described formaldehyde as “known to be a human carcinogen”.

Household Items Containing Formaldehyde:
Formaldehyde-based resins are used as adhesives and resins in the manufacture of particle-board, plywood, furniture and other wood products. It’s also used for the production of materials like appliances, electric controls, telephones, wiring services. They’re also used in the textile, leather, rubber and cement industries. Other uses are as binders for foundry sand, stonewool and glasswool mats in insulating materials, abrasive paper and brake linings.

Should You Invest in an Organic Mattress, Bedding and Pillows?

Toxic chemicals are everywhere around us today. I try to minimize my exposure to these harmful chemicals as best I can. Changing your bedding, pillow, sheets and linens is one great way, that many people are unaware of, to reduce exposure to toxins.

Here’s a few specific changes you can make:
Pillows: Get rid of any pillows and mattresses that are at least 2 years old. Replace any hypoallergenic pillow stuffed with synthetic fiber and get pillows that are made out of feathers or wool. If allergies are a concern, you can opt for a pillow made out of latex foam. Z Natural Talay Latex Pillow by Malouf (Amazon, $49).

Mattress: Consider organic mattresses that are either made up of naturally fire retardant wool, organic cotton and coils that are completely untreated. Avoid mattresses containing PBDE. These can now be easily found in many online stores. Also, check your local retailer. Here’s the mattress I personally use: bioposture.com

Bed sheets and linens: Choose sheets made out of organic and unbleached hemp, cotton or linen. These will cost more but rest assured they’re safer and will last longer too, especially compared to chlorine treated pillowcase and bed sheets, which is what a majority of people have. Your duvets should also be made of natural materials. Opt for those with silk, hemp, feathers or down. Here’s a few sites I recommend: Magnolia 100% Organic Cotton Sheets (Amazon, $79), gaiam.com ($90-$250+),  bambeco.com ($150+).

On a Budget: Looking for a more budget friendly option? IKEA may be able to help. The company has been known to sell PBDE free mattresses, pillows and bedroom furniture since 2002. Serta is another brand that makes safe mattress.

Detox Your Bedroom: Make it a habit to clean and vacuum your bedroom regularly. Change your bed linens every week and a half. Another way to detox your bedroom is to simply air your mattress. The simple act of opening your windows wide open to allow fresh air inside can do wonders for your health. Every once in a while, especially when the weather is warm and sunny, take your mattress outside and leave it under the sun.

 

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What kind of pillow do you use? Where did you get it?

 

Sources: Formaldehyde Research, Natural News, KCBD.com, NPR.com

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75% of Sunscreens are Toxic: What to do Instead

More than 2 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. And even though more and more people are using sunscreen each year, the incidence of skin cancer continues to climb world wide.

It’s that time of year where we all start enjoying the weather outside, but did you know that 4 different studies conducted in the 1990’s indicated a higher risk of malignant melanoma among individuals who used the most sunscreen!

Several years ago when I started revealing the dangers of sunscreen many people were surprised. But over the past 5 years more research is starting to come out about the dangers of sunscreen.

Now I’m not telling you never to wear sunscreen!
Sometimes, you should wear sunscreen (more on that later). But first, I want to share with you the benefits of not wearing sunscreen for a portion of the day and also let you know what brands are toxic-free and safe for you and your family, and where you can get them.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just published their 2012 guide to safe sunscreens. They reviewed over 1800 sunscreens and over 257 brands. They found more than 75% of the sunscreens contained toxic chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer and other health issues.

The Dangers of Conventional Sunscreens
According to research from the EWG: Our review…shows that some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some have toxic effects. Some release skin-damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like estrogen and disrupt hormones, and several can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. The FDA has not established rigorous safety standards for sunscreen ingredients. Sunscreens haven’t been regulated since 1978 in the USA, and the SPF factor only tells you how effective a sunscreen is against UVB rays which cause sunburn.

toxic-sunscreenSo in review, some ingredients may

  • Absorb into the blood
  • Release free radicals in sunlight
  • Act like estrogen
  • Disrupt hormones
  • Cause allergic reactions
  • Cause skin irritation
  • Have no rigorous safety standards

A recent study published in Environmental Science Technology has also shown the common sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, and PABA are estrogenic chemicals linked to cancer. That’s right, I read the labels on not only my food products, but on anything I’m putting on or near my body, and you should too. If your sunscreen contains any of these chemicals I’d throw it away right now!

List of Unsafe, Toxic Chemicals in Sunscreen

  • Para amino benzoic acid
  • Octyl salicyclate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Cinoxate
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Phenylbenzimidazole
  • Homosalate
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Octocrylene
  • Methoxycinnamate
  • Parabens

Stay away from these chemicals and use the natural sunscreens I recommend at the end of the article.

The Sun Doesn’t Cause Cancer
In truth, the sun is essential for your health. Think about it. Without the sun, most plants couldn’t grow and we would perish from a lack of Vitamin D3.

Of course, you can have too much of a good thing. I don’t recommend letting your skin burn, and this is a common point people miss. Getting a moderate amount of sunshine daily can actually help decrease your risk of certain types of cancers.

The Sun is your best source of Vitamin D3.
When you get approximately 20 minutes of direct sunlight, your body naturally generates enough Vitamin D3 (Calciferol), and you body also knows the right amount to generate without overdose.

Vitamin D3 has been one of the most researched nutrients over the past 5 years and it has been shown to naturally help boost the immune system, help fight cancer and improve mood.

There are two types of sunscreens: non-mineral and mineral.  And some that combine both.

Non-mineral sunscreens penetrate the skin, are potentially disruptive to hormones, are allergenic, and like I mentioned earlier, can release free radicals when they break down. Oxybenzone is the most common ingredient found in sunscreens. Scientists recommend not using sunscreens containing oxybenzone on children because of this hormone disruption.

Mineral sunscreens are ones containing zinc, or titanium.  These do not breakdown in sunlight, are not usually absorbed ( so do not disrupt the body’s hormones), are not allergenic and are more effective at blocking UVA rays than non-minerals.  These sunscreens are a good choice for children and according to EWG have the best safety profiles of the choices in the United States.

What I Use

Kiss My Face SPF 30

What Natural Sunscreens to Buy

The best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. No chemicals for the skin to absorb, no questions about whether the product works and no bogus claims like “sunblock.” (No conventional product blocks out all rays. Which is why the FDA is trying to ban the term.)

When buying sunscreen I’d first check the EWG database. Here are my top 3 recommended brands of the top natural sunscreens:
1. Kiss My Face SPF 30

2. 100% Pure Hydration Organic Pomegranate

3. Aubrey Organics SPF 30 Children’s Unscented Sensitive Skin

These healthier sunscreens contain Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide as a more natural form of sunblock. However even these ingredients aren’t flawless as you’ll see in the EWG ratings system.

Foods and Supplements that Protect Your Skin
According to the American Cancer Society, oxidative damage can increase your cancer risk,  so I recommend eating a diet high in certain foods which can potentially decrease your risk.

List of the best foods and supplements to protect your skin

  • Resveratrol (red wine, blueberries and red grapes)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon and fish oil)
  • Astaxathin (salmon and fish oil)
  • Catechins (green and white tea)
  • Vitamin E (pumpkin seeds, almonds, and asparagus)
  • Beta-carotene (carrots and red bell peppers)

For a more extensive list, check out my article on fighting skin cancer with food.

Actions Steps
1. Get 20+ minutes of sunshine daily
2. Cover up with light clothing before you get burnt
3. Wear natural sunscreen if you’re going to stay out for a long period of time
4. Eat a diet high in anti-oxidants to protect your skin
5. If you get burnt, use a mixture of aloe, coconut oil and vitamin E on your skin

So what are your thoughts on Sunscreen and the Sun? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

sourceshttp://breakingnews.ewg.org/2012sunscreen/
Kunisue T, Chen Z, Buck Louis GM, Sundaram R, Hediger ML, Sun L, Kannan K. Urinary Concentrations of Benzophenone-type UV Filters in U.S. Women and Their Association with Endometriosis.  Environ Sci Tech 2012 Apr 17;46(8):4624-32. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

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4 Natural Home Deodorizers

Keeping your house odor free and toxin free seems to be a never-ending battle. If you’re like me then you’ll go to any lengths necessary to avoid spraying toxic chemicals all over your house. Thankfully, nature has provided some ways to keep your house smelling great all year long. I’ve listed my favorite all-natural items and how to use them as every-day replacements to the common toxic household cleaners. If you have some more tips or ideas you’d like to add, feel free to comment below and share them with everyone.

 

1. Lemons

The citric acid in lemons (and other citrus fruits) works to neutralize odors, and the lemony smell leaves a pleasant odor after cleaning. This works especially well on food odors.

Uses:

  1. Deodorize your dishwasher. Add 1 cup of lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best) to the bottom of your dishwasher and run just the rinse cycle to disinfect and deodorize it.
  2. Freshen up your whole kitchen. Fill a pot with water, and add lemon (and/or orange) peels, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Simmer on your stove.
  3. Deodorize your sink. Put a handful of lemon, lime or orange peel in the sink disposal and run with water.

2. Eucalyptus

The oil from Eucalyptus is an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, which makes it a great deodorizer. It can help freshen up musty places that are often kept closed off like closets. Its fragrance can help you breathe better by opening up your sinuses.

Uses:

  1. Freshen a musty closet. Place a few branches in a closet or musty room. Be sure to check it in a few weeks and simply replace it when the fresh scent starts to go away.
  2. Polish Furniture. Add 2 Tbsp. of Eucalyptus oil to 1 gallon of water to use as an antiseptic spray, or as an all natural replacement for Pine-sol or Lysol.

3. Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the most versatile liquids around. Apple Cider Vinegar has incredible health properties when consumed, which is why I made it the main ingredient in my Secret Detox Drink. It’s also a great all natural alternative for everyday cleaning around the house. Don’t worry about the strong smell, it completely goes away when it dries.

Uses:

  1. Neutralize hard-to-get-rid-of Odors. Add a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar to the fabric softener of your washing machine to neutralize bad odors that tend to stick around even after washing.
  2. Clean your washer. Every couple of months, run an empty washer load with 1 cup of vinegar to keep it clean and working well.
  3. Bathroom cleaner. Combine equal parts white distilled vinegar and water to a spray bottle. Ideal for hard to remove grime in your bathroom or shower.
  4. Hair Conditioner. I’ve been known to use a tablespoon of vinegar as a replacement for hair conditioner.
  5. Clean a clogged drain. Pour boiling white distilled vinegar down a clogged drain to remove the obstruction.

4. Baking Soda

Baking Soda is an alkaline powder that’s great at neutralizing acid based smells like body odor and the smells that come from aging food.

Uses:

  1. Neutralize odors in the fridge. Place an opened box of baking soda in the fridge to neutralize the bad smells created by food starting to go bad.
  2. A natural toothpaste. Sprinkle a little on a wet toothbrush and brush as normal. (I typically use approx. half a teaspoon, or a pinch)

Have your own tips for natural deodorizers? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

sources: livestrong, greenlivingtips

Update 5-23-2012:

I had a lot of great feedback and tips from Facebook, so I thought I’d include some of the best ones here.

  • Brandie – put orange and lemon rinds in a jar fill with vinegar and let sit for 2 weeks to marinate. Gives you an all purpose cleaner.
  • Linda – I use a few drops of peppermint oil in a bowl when there is an unpleasant odor in the house or when I just want a nice smell when I’m having people over.
  • I love using lemons to deodorize my garbage disposal. I also use essential oils, Purification and Thieves for cleaning. Thieves will kill mold and it doesn’t come back. I love my Young Living oils!
  • Mona – I use lemon juice and eucalyptus as a brown recluse spider deterrent. I spray lemon juice on the underside of furniture and around windows and doors. I put eucalyptus in closets and other places they like to hide.
  • Marc – I keep vinegar in my dishwasher rinse aid dispenser. It helps keep off the film that accumluates on your dishes.
  • Angelique – Tea tree oil in water with vinegar for all purpose disinfectant and for keeping away bugs add peppermint. Do not use peppermint if nursing, it could lower your supply.
  • Laura – Spray straight vodka on stinky upholstery and carpets as a natural “febreze.” it really gets out all the smells.
  • Peggy – White distilled vinegar is good for pet urine spots. Even on wood floors. After you clean the area- wash it down with white vinegar. It worked for me so far.
  • Heather – Distiller water and a good smelling organic essential oil in a small spray bottle and spray in rooms-nice (I like lavendar)
  • RaDonna – 1 quart of H2O2, 10 drops of essential oil of thyme, 10 drops of essential oil of orange, and 1/4 cup of white vinegar in a spray bottle.
  • Wally – Texas Red Cedar oil. It keeps bugs away also, and can be used as a flea repellent for animals. Smells great!
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How to Clean Your Water Without a Filter

How about a twist of lime with that water? Recently on Maximize Your Health Radio, I discussed a study that showed increased effectiveness of solar disinfection of water using limes.

How to Clean Your Water Without a Filter – Dr. Josh Axe, Maximize Your Health Radio


 

Adding a lime to water that’s been treated with a solar disinfectant system can actually remove harmful bacteria from your drink.

“…Solar disinfection of water combined with citrus could be effective at greatly reducing E. coli levels…” says Kellogg Schwab, PhD, MS, director of the Johns Hopkins University Global Water Program
Good clean drinking water is very important to our overall wellness, and what better way to take control of your health than to make your own. A recent study published by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that adding limes to water that is being disinfected by the sun speeds up the disinfection process. Not only will you have naturally cleaned water, but it’ll have a twist of lime which boosts your immune system and fight seasonal allergies.

How to disinfect your own water: Fill a glass container with water. Cut up some limes and set it in the sun for 6-10 hrs.

 

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Avoiding Fluoride and How to Detox it from your body

For decades, fluoride has been considered the “knight in shining armor” in the battle against tooth decay. Children were encouraged to brush their teeth with fluoride, and it was even added to the public water supply. In 2008, an estimated 62% of the US population were receiving fluoridated water. However, over time it became apparent that fluoride is not the natural safe supplement that most people were led to believe.

Excessive fluoride has been linked to stained and mottled teeth along with a variety of chronic and acute health issues. Let’s find out more about this possibly harmful soluble salt.

What is Fluoride?
There are two types of fluoride: calcium fluoride and sodium fluoride. When taken in excess, both types can be harmful to health.
Calcium fluoride is found naturally in underground waters sources. In sufficient concentrations, it can actually weaken bones and teeth rather than protecting them. However, it is less toxic and damaging to health than its counterpart.

Sodium fluoride is much more insidious. Created as a synthetic waste byproduct from the fertilizer, aluminum and nuclear industries, this type of fluoride is added to many public water supplies. Already laden with lead, aluminum and cadmium, sodium fluoride has the ability to combine with other toxic materials and increase their potency. Far from healthy, the side effects of taking fluoride may have far-reaching negative effects on health as you will see, yet until recently it was advocated by both the American Dental Association and the US Public Health Service.

What does Fluoride Affect?
Fluoride, particularly sodium fluoride, has been found to weaken the immune system and can damage the kidneys and liver. Symptoms of sodium fluoride toxicity are similar to fibromyalgia, including fatigue, muscle pain, memory loss and insomnia. It can also cause nausea, diarrhea, sickness, abdominal pain and increased thirst.

Worse still, sodium fluoride acts as a “Trojan horse”, carrying aluminum across the blood brain barrier where it can be responsible for lower IQ and Alzheimer’s disease. Once in the brain, fluoride can calcify the pineal gland which is responsible for the natural production of melatonin. Without sufficient melatonin, the body is deprived of sound sleep and the thyroid will not function correctly.

How to Avoid Fluoride
Even in areas where sodium fluoride has not been added to the water, it may still be part of your daily diet. Fluoride is used as a pesticide and fumigant and is sprayed onto food crops. It is a component of home insecticides and is even added to bottled water, toothpaste and baby foods. Crops watered by fluoride-laden water are even more heavily contaminated, yet as consumers we have no control over what we are buying and consuming.

Some steps towards curbing your fluoride intake can be taken. Drinking purified or distilled water is recommended if you live in an area of fluoridated water, although all minerals are then removed which is not altogether a good thing for your overall health. Consider taking a supplement of Fulvic acid to counter this issue. Installing a water purification or fluoride filtering system to your home is well worth considering. It is worth noting that Brita and Pur water filters do not remove fluoride.

Choose organically grown local produce over commercially grown, sprayed crops. Avoid processed foods such as grape juice products, instant tea and even soymilk as they all contain high levels of sodium fluoride, as do many over-the-counter medications.

How to Detox Your Body of Fluoride
As well as taking in less fluoride, you need to detox your body to eliminate existing fluoride.

Exercise is good, allowing the body to eliminate all types of toxins, including fluoride, from the body in sweat. I’ve put together a workout plan that I personally use (Burst Training Plan)

Tamarind is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. The pulp, bark and leaves are used to make teas, which have been shown to eliminate fluoride through urine.

Magnesium is a useful supplement as it inhibits the absorption of fluoride into the cells. Boron is known to be an effective way to detox fluoride. It can be added to pure water in small amounts of around 1/32 to ¼ teaspoon per liter.

Iodine has been clinically shown to increase the amount of fluoride in urine, expelling it from the body as calcium fluoride. However, this may be depriving your body of calcium so make sure that you take calcium supplements to counter this problem.

Liver cleanses are very effective for eliminating not only fluoride but also other toxins that congregate in the liver. Take a product that thoroughly cleanses the liver over one to two weeks for maximum effectiveness. Chelation therapies are also recommended for removing heavy metals for the body along with sodium fluoride.

Sources: Natural News, drninafoley.com, wikipedia, alignlife.com, curezone.com

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4 Reasons You Should Drink Enough Water

You can go without food for days, weeks and even months, but going without water for just one day can negatively impact your health. Many people don’t realize just how important water really is. The human body is made up of 2/3 (66%) water and when we lose just a little bit of water through sweat and elimination, and we do not replenish lost liquid, we’ll begin to notice the effects to our health right away.

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Are Flu Vaccines a Scam?

Winter is soon approaching upon on us and with the colder weather comes the vaccine industry pushing their flu shots, again. By mid October we’re going to be bombarded with all the media hype telling us to get a flu shot! Ever wonder why, if the flu shot worked so well, people are revaccinated year after year? The CDC claims their vaccines work super well and that if vaccinated a person is immune from contracting the flu, and yet, in the same breath they let us know we need to be revaccinated.  Huh?

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Are There Toxic Poisons in Apple Juice?

Dr. Oz a very popular health guru and one of TV’s most popular medical experts puts apple juice to the test, literally. The tests for arsenic came back from a New Jersey lab revealing levels of the toxin arsenic in the apple juice.  As usual, the FDA has done their own tests and they say no such thing is in apple juice sold in the U.S. As always the FDA wants to let us know there is no public health risk from drinking apple juice in the U.S.

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Milk Hormones! Are These Chemicals in Your Milk?

According to an online article published by Dailymail a single glass of milk can contain a chemical concoction of up to 20 different chemicals, such as antibiotics, growth hormones, and even painkillers! Have you ever thought about what’s lingering in your milk?

Besides it being pasteurized, which really means “dead food”, there are a lot of different dangerous pharmaceuticals floating around in your milk that most people can’t even pronounce.  While the highest concentration of these chemicals is found in cow milk, the toxins have also been found in human and goat milk.

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The Real Price of Beauty

Women want to be beautiful and are willing to spend a lot of money to get it. According to a YWCA report, in one year American women spend about $7 billion on beauty products. That’s a lot of money spent on numerous products put on the skin. From creams and lotions to eye shadows and lipsticks many of these products contain ingredients that are questionable at best.

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Monsanto, Round Up and Birth Defects

Monsanto-PesticidesAccording to a recent study evaluation by Earth Open Source, Round Up’s main ingredient, glyphosate is being linked to birth defects, amongst other problems, in animals. Earth Open Source reviews existing data in an open source collaboration to advance sustainable food production.

Round Up weed killer is the most widely used herbicide on the planet. With so many people spraying away it’s important to be certain this potent weed killer is safe for the plants, the animals, the users, and the entire environment. However, the latest research indicates that Round Up is far from safe for anyone or anything that is living.

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Do Your Supplements Contain Toxins and Junk?

You walk into the local grocery store or drugstore and see shelf after shelf filled with what looks like high quality, reputable supplements; vitamins, minerals, and the like line the shelves promising to bring you optimal health and vitality if you take them. But you know better, somewhere along the way you’ve heard that you shouldn’t just pick up the first supplement you see, especially at the grocery store so you move on. (And with the Food and Drug Administrations report of 29,000 different supplements on the market today, you really need to know what you’re looking for and what to avoid.)

The Search for High Quality Supplements Goes On

Next you hit your local health food store. Surely this place will have high quality, health promoting supplements that will propel your health to the next level of good. Sure they may cost a little more but you know taking a high quality supplement is well worth it. However, as you pick up the store’s own signature brand you hesitate and read the label. Now in the back of you head you’re thinking really it’s a waste of time that this supplement must be one of the best, after all it’s a local health food store and they’ve put their name on these supplements. But what you see may just surprise you.

When it comes to supplements many of them are filled with all the wrong ingredients. That is, not only do they have unwanted additives, preservatives, fillers, and even food dyes, the source of the supplement they provide is less than optimal. So read those labels.

What to Avoid in Your Supplements

Now here’s the problem I find with most supplements; many are synthetic or synthetic isolates. That means the vitamin or mineral is only partial and is combined with a chemical. There are two problems here:

2 Problems with Mainstream Supplements

  1. You’re only getting ‘part’ of the vitamin or mineral when your body needs the whole thing.
  2. You’re adding chemicals into your system. This is something you want to avoid doing in all aspects of your life especially with what you eat or ingest.

When you take a supplement it’s already a second choice to getting this nutrient straight from the source via the food. However, if you choose a low quality supplement you’re taking another step further away from the original, most nutritious source. Really these types of supplements are a sad alternative to the real deal – the food source.

I took a trip to my local health food store, picked up their top selling supplements and here are some of the ingredients I found that you want to avoid.

#1 Common Supplement Ingredient to Avoid

Magnesium stearate (reportedly in 95% of all supplements)

Now you may or may not about this ingredient but I’ve written extensively on it and its role in supplements. (insert link to articles) In brief, magnesium stearate is used in many industries including the supplement industry. In this industry it is used as a lubricant to prevent the particles of the nutrients from slowing the equipment thereby allowing them to operate at maximum speeds.

Magnesium stearate contains many toxins as it is made from hydrogenating cottonseed oil. This type of oil has been found to have the highest concentrations of toxins or pesticide residues as the cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops today.

To make matters worse, these hydrogenated oils themselves are dangerous as they have been molecularly altered. There are still no clear implications of long term consumption of these types of oils. In addition, the process of hydrogenation involves a metal catalyst. The impact of using this metal catalyst on the body is still unknown.

According to an article in 1990 in Immunology, magnesium stearates impede the function of the vital T cells. As you probably know, T cells are a vital and integral part of the immune system.

In fact, magnesium stearates are classified as a ‘hazardous material.’ Its described uses include:

  • Ammunition
  • Paint drier
  • Varnish drier
  • Binder
  • Emulsifier
  • Dusting powder

Even without mounds of scientific data, common sense says this is not something you want to be ingesting on a daily basis. What’s more is that these synthetic supplements are hard for the body to digest and absorb so in the end you get very little of the benefits. In other words, you’re wasting your money at best and may be harming your own life at the worst.

Let’s talk about high quality supplements you want to take, not avoid.

What to Look for in Your Supplements

I highly recommend taking whole food supplements. One of the best ways to be certain that you’re taking high quality supplements is to find a reputable supplier and stick with them. Garden of Life is one such supplement provider and why I promote them.

This whole food supplement company creates the highest quality, consistently reliable supplements around. The founder of this company, Jordan Rubin, started with the mission of providing life giving supplements to all. The supplements from the Garden of Life are whole food supplements that the body can absorb and utilize immediately.

Before you swallow those synthetic supplements think twice and ask yourself if you’re helping or hurting your body.

Sources: onibasu.com, mercola.com, gardenoflife.com

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8 Reasons not to have Breast Augmentation

20% of women have silicone implants removed after just ten years of having them implanted. (FDA)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a word of caution about silicone implants for women considering them for cosmetic or reconstructive surgery. In a statement issued on June 22, 2011, the FDA warned that these ‘devices’ are not for lifetime use and cited several problems found with silicone implants for the women who have them.

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Genetically Modified Cooking Oils are not Healthy

With so many oils on the market and so much talk about the different types of oil it’s difficult to sift through what is fact, what is entirely fiction, and most of all which is the healthiest oil to use.

From olive oil and palm oil to coconut oil and sesame oils it’s hard to know which one to put in your shopping cart, into your food, and eventually inside your body. One of the most misunderstood and most talked about cooking oils is canola oil. The name was originally LEAR (Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed) but for marketing purposes was changed to canola oil. This word was derived from the combination of the phrase, “Canadian oil.” Canola oil is a much more appealing name than LEAR oil or rape oil. But is the oil appealing for you and should you be using it in your foods?

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Geneticaly Modified Salmon and AquaBounty

“Global Study Reveals Higher Levels of Potentially Harmful Flame Retardant Chemicals in Farmed Salmon than in Wild.” (source)

Salmon is one of the most delicious as well as most nutritious foods on earth. I eat it almost everyday. This fish is full of essential nutrients your body needs. The natives of the Pacific knew this intimately. They consumed salmon to live. These friends of the earth also used every conceivable part of the salmon; bones for tools, uneaten meat for jerky, and so on. This fish was revered by the natives of our country and for many reasons should be by us too.

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What is Parkinson’s and What Natural Treatments are There?

“There are currently around a million people in the United States with Parkinson’s disease…However, it is also estimated that 1.10% of the U. S. population, or 1 in 90 people, have the disease and do not yet know it.” (source)

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a motor system disorder resulting from a lack of or loss of dopamine producing brain cells. The disease usually occurs in people over the age of fifty and onset is gradual. Symptoms may begin to develop slowly and then over time the sufferer can no longer deny the existence of the now more severe symptoms.

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Is Your Cookware Poisoning You?

If you’ve been reading at all on my site or any other about health and nutrition then you probably know a little about what to eat. You’ve probably learned, heard, or got inkling that you should be eating fresh, raw, real foods. The foods you should be avoiding are the highly processed ones laden with toxins.

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Signs of Autism: What You Can’t Afford to Miss

You can’t help but hear about autism in the news today and for the past several years. There’s good reason why too. According to Autism Speaks, an advocacy group for children suffering from autism and their families, autism is the fastest growing, development disability in the United States with more children being diagnosed this year than AIDS, diabetes, and cancer combined.

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Mercury in Fish

If you’re paying attention to eating healthy you may have switched out heavier red meats for what you thought are more healthy fish options. Many people become confused – and rightly so – when they first hear to cut out red meats and to add fish instead. Next they hear they should avoid fish because of dangerous levels of toxins such as the heavy metals like mercury.

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Is Fluoride Destroying Your Smile?

fluoride-toothpasteAccording to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2008, 72.4% of the United States population had access to fluoridated drinking water in their homes. And despite the controversy surrounding this practice the Healthy People Objective 2010 aimed to make this percent even higher with a goal set of 75% of the United States population having access to fluoridated drinking water by 2010.

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Safe, Effective Alternatives to Aspirin

aspirinPeople have been taking aspirin for many decades now. In fact, this little pill found in just about every medicine cabinet across the world was discovered way back in 1853, but not used medicinally until 1897 first as a powder, then introduced as that little white pill we all are so familiar with in 1915. Despite its long standing years of use, there are some serious health complications that can result from taking aspirin.

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The Best Way to Detox

Have you ever been constipated? Felt bloated? Had excess gas? Felt like something just wasn’t right? Many people don’t realize that some of the physical ailments they feel on a daily basis are a result of a body that is loaded with toxins in desperate need of detox.

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Dangers of Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillingAs the holiday season fast approaches the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking a second look at the evidence showing the imminent health dangers of amalgam or ‘silver’ fillings. In July 2009, the FDA reviewed scientific evidence presented in regards to the serious health hazards caused by having these mercury based fillings sitting in the mouth of millions of Americans.

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Toxic Mold Causes Depression & More

moldThe effect of mold on health is big news these days. We hear more and more about families moving from their beloved homes or being forced to spend thousands of dollars for mold remediation just so they have somewhere healthy to live.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more than 100 million Americans live with dangerous toxins in their homes.

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Aluminum: Don’t Sweat It?

deodorant Aluminum is the most abundant metal on the planet and it is never destroyed, only transformed. It binds to other particles and can dissolve in water, be taken up by plants and stay suspended in the air.

There’s a big battle line drawn between scientists that say the aluminum we’re exposed to every day doesn’t propose any risk and science that has shown just how dangerous aluminum might be.

The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) lists aluminum in its toxic substances list but say that of the amounts of aluminum we’re exposed to every day, only a small bit is actually absorbed into the bloodstream.

The real issue lies in the fact that there are many, many forces behind the experts that say it doesn’t pose a risk. Aluminum is used in everything from cookware and siding to antiperspirants, food additives, vaccines and even BPA-free water bottles.

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Deadly Chemicals: It’s What’s for Dinner if You Use Teflon Pans

teflon-pansWe live in the age of convenience and the age of fast. We all want information fast, food fast, and our communication even faster. Gone are the days of laid back telephone conversations or dare I say, dinner conversations. We’re in so much of a hurry many of us are failing to stop a minute and see exactly what’s at stake here. We don’t even want to be bothered taking the time to melt some butter on our pans so food doesn’t stick, so we opt for non-stick pans.

When it comes to non-stick cookware Teflon leads the way. Teflon was invented way back in 1938 at a DuPont laboratory. This trademarked substance is touted as the slipperiest substance around. Teflon is technically known as polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE. Teflon is most known for its convenience in the kitchen

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10 Ways to Go Green with Your Lawn Care

green-roof-flowersThis is a guest post by Brandi Irwin, owner of Fortress Landscaping Design based in Middle Tennessee.

Sustainable practices are a growing trend not only in the United States but all over the world. Long-term, using sustainable practices will help prolong our natural resources that, as a result, will help the environment, our future, and our health.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.