[to see a prettier version, click here]

Following up on last week’s article about organic produce, I want to discuss other sources of substances that you are regularly exposed to that may be putting your health (and your children’s health) at risk. Here’s the short list:

·      Water (tap water, bottled water, showers, pools, etc.)
·      Food/Beverage (processed foods, juices, sodas, GMO’s, etc.)
·      Personal products (hair products, perfumes, soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, etc.)
·      House cleaning products (detergents, air fresheners, furniture polish, etc.)
·      Drugs (over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, vaccines, alcohol, etc.)

Now, I am not saying that any one of these specific items will cause you harm in isolation. In fact, most of the items on the list do more good than harm. I mean seriously, you couldn’t live without food and water, many people rely on drugs to sustain their quality of life temporarily and/or long term, and besides that, who wants to live in an unclean environment or scare people away with bad breath??!!

The problem is cumulative exposure to micro-amounts of harmful substances over time. Our bodies are well equipped to deal with exposure to these substances; that is what they are designed to do—protect you from harm and support your life.

Unfortunately, with the advent of technology, many of us have saturated our bodies and our natural filtration systems with these substances beyond our ability to cope. Just like a car engine, if you have too much junk in your gas (e.g., sugar in your blood) or too much oil in the engine (e.g., toxins in your food/water), the engine breaks down.

The good news is, you can do something about it. You can protect yourself from harm. You can avoid unnecessary disease and suffering. And, you can improve your situation, no matter how bad you think it is. If you don’t believe me, ask Tony Robbins, Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Oprah Winfrey, or Eckhart Tolle. (And that’s the short list!)

In order to do so, however, you must make better decisions. You will not get a different result by doing the same thing you have always done. Sorry, but it is true.

I could go on and on about this subject, but I will spare you my rants for now. Just know that all I am saying is this: you are going to eat, drink, shower, bathe, clean your home, medicate, deodorize, and do many other things on a regular basis that expose you to micro amounts of unsavory substances. If you are cognizant of this, you can minimize your exposure to the damaging particulates and protect your health by doing things like selecting organic produce, purchasing products that do not contain hazardous ingredients, filtering your water, detoxing, and using apps that help you make safer purchases (e.g., the Environmental Work Group’s Food Scores app and Skin Deep personal products app). 

Take control of the helm and you can steer yourself in the direction you wish to go. The good and bad news is this: it is up to you.

I hope you found the content of this post helpful and informative. Thank you for reading!!

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

 
 
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In a recent article, I addressed the importance of detoxing as a means for resetting your body’s healing capabilities. But what does that actually entail?

In simple terms, detoxing consists of reducing or eliminating your exposure to harmful substances and/or removing these substances from your body and your environment.

Detoxing helps prevent disease and it allows our organs (skin, liver, kidneys, etc) to function more efficiently and effectively. And it has many benefits, including:

·      Increased energy
·      Improved brain function
·      Weight loss
·      Disease prevention
·      Improvements in chronic health conditions
·      Increased vitality
·      Higher quality sleep

However, detoxing can get quite complicated. So, unless you are the type of person who thrives on diving in head first by tackling everything at once, I recommend taking it in incremental steps, incorporating different aspects into your lifestyle over time. To help you feel better faster, however, it will help to jumpstart yourself with a 2–4 week detox diet, followed by a less restrictive regimen that is closer to your current lifestyle and therefore easier to maintain over time.

One easy way to start detoxing is to look for things in your environment that have chemicals or heavy metals in them, such as deodorant, hair care products, soaps, detergents, laundry supplies, air fresheners, fragrances, scented candles, etc. As these products run out, replace them with chemical-free, natural products. These are readily available in health food stores and in the natural products section of the local grocery store. 

Making your own products is a great way to reduce your exposure and save a lot of money, but there is a time trade-off. In any case, I will share more information on this topic later, but if you are interested in making your own detergents, house cleaners, and such, please contact me!

Another first step in detoxing is to get in the habit of purchasing locally grown, organic produce. If that seems cost prohibitive, start on a small scale. Apples, celery, strawberries, and a few other fruits and vegetables tend to have more pesticides on them from conventional farming methods (for a list of the most important produce to purchase organic, Google “dirty dozen organic”).

The third and most important step is to eliminate processed foods from your diet. That’s right—sugar, breads, pastas, pizzas, chips, etc. The further it is from the food chain, the worse it is for you. (Did you know cellulose is used in many processed foods? It is wood pulp, and our bodies are not designed to process wood products). If stopping altogether is daunting, put rules around it. For instance, if you currently eat pizza once per week, have it once every other week instead, then reduce it to once per month, and so on. And I shouldn’t have to say it, but it is important to stop eating fast food and drinking sodas altogether.

Fourth, filter the water you eat, drink, and shower with. There are lots of undesirable particulates in municipal water and in many bottled waters. Any level of filtering is better than none. I highly recommend reverse osmosis water for cooking and drinking.  See also my recent article about water and water filtration.

Like many things, there is no one-size-fits-all program. But by starting with the four key steps listed above, you will be well on the way to living a lifestyle that supports the healthiest and most vibrant you that you can be!

Don’t forget, we are starting a Healthy Lifestyle Initiative in January. If you are interested in participating, please sign up here. This does not commit you to anything, it just gets you on the list of interested people that we will send more detailed information to in the near future.

Once again, thank you for reading this post!

Yours in health and wellness,

Allison

 
 
[to see a prettier version of this post, click here]

There’s a lot of talk about detoxing these days. But what does “detox” mean exactly, why is it so popular, and is detoxing right for you?

Unfortunately, there are toxins in our food, drinking water, air, household cleaning products, medicines, air fresheners, lotions, perfumes, cosmetics, radiation from wireless devices, cookware, and in plastic water bottles. The list is virtually endless.  For your reference, here’s a list compiled by the Global Healing Center.

Our bodies are well equipped to protect us from these things and to extract them from our bodies; however, the volume of toxic substances we are exposed to on a daily basis is more than our bodies can handle. Over time this leads to disease, including obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s, brain fog, depression, and much more.

So, detoxing is basically the process of eliminating toxins that are stored in your body and reducing or eliminating your exposure to toxic substances in your environment and from other sources of exposure.

While it is not possible to prevent exposure entirely, you can greatly reduce your exposure by taking certain measures, such as eating organic produce, using natural household cleaning products and cosmetics, cooking with iron skillets rather than Teflon coated pans, etc.

Since we have been exposed to these substances over the course of many years, detoxing is an activity I recommend everyone incorporate into their lifestyle (at least twice/year). I personally recommend finding a detox plan that works for your budget and your schedule. Note: detoxing can be time consuming and expensive, and if the toxin load in your body is high, it can cause temporary sickness or discomfort.

I completed in my first detox regimen a few years ago. I basically followed The 4 Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, which is designed to minimize your exposure to toxins and maximize your nutrition while assisting your organs with the elimination of toxins from your body with supplements and herbal teas.

The program changed my life. It reset my body and mind, my skin cleared up and got softer and more radiant, I rapidly dropped 15lbs of excess weight, and my energy level skyrocketed!  I did not suffer any negative side effects from the program, even though the author warned that I might feel worse before I felt better. Admittedly, it was a lot of work, but it was worth the effort. 

I will review specific detox options for you in a future post and will provide some guidelines for minimizing your exposure to hazardous substances. Just know that the first hurdle is becoming aware of what is out there; then you can make better decisions and take action to protect yourself and your family from harm.

Thanks for reading this post, catch you next week!

Yours in health and well being,

Allison  

 
 
[to see a prettier version of this post, click here]

I am not writing today to tell you how much water you should drink or to discuss alternative hydrating options (you can read about that on my blog (scroll down to see the post prior to this article).  Instead I want to discuss what’s in your tap water and why it matters.

For years we have literally been programmed to “hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.” Once the “drink more water campaign” gained steam, there was an onslaught of bottled water. Now, there are so many water options it’s mind boggling! Vitamin, flavored, sparkling, mineral, coconut, distilled, filtered, natural spring, tap, and plain old bottled drinking water. The list goes on.

Are all water sources equal in quality? No, not by a long shot. It gets a bit complicated so let’s narrow the discussion for now to tap water.

Most people in developed countries get water in their home from a municipal source (i.e., from your city or county), or they have wells that capture ground water for consumption.

Water that comes from wells can be exposed to toxins, such as pesticides, or run-off from nearby construction sites, and well water may have an unpleasant odor; therefore, most well owners filter their water to eliminate the contaminants and any undesirable smell.

Municipal water, while filtered and treated, still contains some less-than-savory (and frankly unhealthy) particulates. Many of these contaminants are toxic and can have long-term negative effects on human health.1 And some of these contaminants that are known to be harmful are actually added to the water! (i.e., chlorine and fluoride).1

While these particulates at low levels may not pose an immediate threat to your health, exposure over time does. In addition to other toxins that we are exposed to in our food and environment (house cleaners, perfumes, air fresheners, lotions, and such) our organs can get overwhelmed by the cumulative effect of exposure, leaving us susceptible to disease. For this reason, I highly recommend filtering all tap water used for cooking, drinking, and bathing.

A whole-house filter is ideal but cost-prohibitive for most people (starts around $1,000). An under-the-sink reverse osmosis filtration system for your kitchen is a great option for drinking and cooking needs but is not cheap ($200–$400 plus installation).

To keep the costs down, I purchase reverse osmosis water in 5 gallon bottles from the local health food store for drinking and cooking. It only costs 40 to 60 cents per gallon. And, I have a shower filter ($60) to protect my skin from unnecessary toxic exposure. Skin is the largest organ of the body, you know!

I just want to tell you, I was AMAZED at the difference the water shower filter made on my skin and hair. Literally, within a week, my chronic dry skin and the frizziness of my hair was eradicated! It’s one of the best investments I have ever made, and the replacement filters cost only $50 and they cover the amount of water required for daily showers for two people for 6 months.

If you are interested in purchasing a filter for your shower, sink or kitchen, click here to see my recommendations.

Now, I realize today’s topic was a bit less interesting than tips for shedding unwanted pounds, but it’s so important I felt I had to touch on it sooner rather than later.

In any case, I hope you found the post informative and I hope you will be proactive in taking measures to reduce your exposure to toxic substances. Filtering your tap water and shower is an excellent start.

Yours in health and wellness,

Allison

1. Drinking Water Contaminants. Available at http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/. Last updated October 29, 2014.