Look and Feel Your Best Without Compromising Your Baby’s Health

Hope you’ve been enjoying all the insight and wisdom that’s being shared on these Tele-Summit calls. This evening is our 4th call in the series: “Look and Feel Your Best Without Compromising Your Baby’s Health.” I’ll be the resident expert for today’s session and I’ll be talking about something very important –-the hidden health threats to your baby from the personal care and beauty products you use! Some of the things I’ll cover on tonight’s session:

  • Startling new research about ingredients in mass-produced personal care products that may pre-dispose your baby to obesity (among other serious health problems!)
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  • The top 10 ingredients you MUST avoid to keep you and your baby safe and how you can find out if the products you’re using right now may contain them
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  • Using Mother Nature’s Rx: Essential Oils to safely address some of the most common pregnancy-related complaints

Much of what I’ll be sharing on tonight’s call applies to you whether you are pregnant or not, but becomes even more important when you are or planning to be. There’s no better time than now to take inventory of the products you currently use and toss the ones that are bad for you. Come join me and learn how to become a more conscious consumer so you can stop exposing your baby to hidden threats from toxic exposure while learning how to identify and choose safer, more effective natural alternatives.

We’re going LIVE at 5PM Pacific/8PM Eastern. Don’t miss this very important call!

If you’re pregnant now, are planning to become pregnant, work with pregnant women and want to better support them through this journey, or know anyone who fits any of these criteria, please share this with them and encourage them to register at: http://www.dropwise.info. It’s FREE!

Spring Clean Your Air: 5 Tips to Reduce Allergens & Hidden Health Hazards in Your Home Part 2

Here are three more hidden health hazards in your home to pay close attention to. Most people are totally unaware of these and the increased opportunity for allergies and illness they present!

  1. Furniture and Home Furnishings That Can Bring You DownOne major source of hazardous exposure is the chemicals and neuro-toxic solvents used furniture and home furnishings. These include but are not limited to the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paint, solvents used to stain and finish furniture, flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs) and stain resistant coatings like perchloroethylene (the main chemical used in dry-cleaning) added to your drapes, carpets, upholstered furniture and bedding, and even the PVC (polyvinyl chloride)in your plastic shower curtain. Collectively, your home furnishings outgas a variety of chemicals that can become a significant source of pollution in the home.To make matters worse, your carpets, drapes and upholstery can be a gold mine for dust mites, and if your home is damp, a fertile breeding ground for mold –-both common sources of allergy and illness. For this reason, many allergists recommend that their patients get rid of carpets altogether. At a minimum, you can install a dehumidifier and make sure to steam and clean carpets thoroughly and regularly.

    Next time you’re ready to paint, switch to low or no VOC paints. Consider upgrading your home with furniture made from natural fibers like wool, organic cotton, untreated wood or wood finished with a water-based stain. Or buy used or antique furniture that’s at least five years old, where it’s a good bet that most of their chemicals have already been released. Avoid furnishings made from particleboard, polyurethane foam, and PVC.

  2. The Bedroom: An Oasis of Calm or a Chamber of Horrors?It may sound a little dramatic, but the place where you spend a third of your life may be teaming with toxins and dust mites! Most traditional mattresses are made with metal coils coated in toxic chemicals to keep them from rusting and degrading over time. On top of that, they are filled with polyurethane foam, flame retardant materials, and/or cotton loaded with pesticides. Then there are the chemicals added to the outer layer of the mattress to make them water and stain resistant. That adds up to a lot of chemicals that you are frequently lounging around on!Ditch your mattress in favor of a greener, cleaner option like natural (not hybrid) latex, natural rubber, organic cotton, or organic wool. Natural latex is naturally anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, dust mite proof, and relieves pressure points along the body. Natural rubber is exceptionally breathable, naturally hygienic, will not house dust mites, and has been shown to reduce pressure-point pain up to 30% better than memory foam. Wool is an excellent choice because of its high moisture content and the protein (keratin) that it contains, making it naturally flame resistant and hostile to dust mites.

    If you can’t swing a new bed, make yours more comfy and allergen-free by adding a wool or natural rubber mattress topper. The wool in mattress toppers (and in mattresses) is well encased in cotton so if you’re allergic or sensitive to it there shouldn’t be a problem. At a minimum, swing for organic cotton zippered encasings to protect your lungs from dust mite allergens and put a little barrier between yourself and the toxins being out gassed by your current mattress.

  3. Do You Practice Fireplace Safety & Common Sense?If you have or use a fireplace then you may be setting yourself up for possible carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition, wood fires can release a substance called benzopyrene–a carcinogen that can irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.Make sure your fireplace and/or wood stove are installed properly and the flue is open when you light a fire. Have both inspected annually to remove creosote build up which can block the chimney and force toxic fumes back into your living room. As a precaution, install a smoke and carbon monoxide detector nearby.

Spring Clean Your Air: 5 Tips to Reduce Allergens & Hidden Health Hazards in Your Home Part 1

Springtime with its fresh blooms and high pollen counts, is typically the time when the allergy-prone suffer most. Most of us dismiss our sneezing, wheezing, drippy noses and goopy eyes as the inevitable result of this sequence of events and pop a few antihistamines or cold tablets to manage the symptoms without a second thought. But what if the cause of your allergy misery was the result of something else?

The simple truth is, there are numerous hidden health threats in your home that can cause allergies and other health problems year-round. If you suffer from chronic allergies, there are ways to reduce or eliminate your exposure to these hazards if you know where to look for them.

Here are two of the five hidden (and not-so-hidden) hazards in your home that may be contributing to your misery and what you can do to eliminate them:

    1. Common Household Cleaning and Laundry Products to Die For

      Many of the everyday house hold cleaning products we use are loaded with ammonia, bleach, and a host of dangerous chemicals that can burn your lungs, eyes, nose, and skin –if not used with great caution. Most laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and even dishwashing liquid are made with synthetic fragrances containing phthalates — chemicals used by industry to soften plastics that have been shown to be endocrine disruptors.All those noxious smells can be extremely irritating and harmful especially when you come in frequent or constant contact with them. The good news is there are a growing selection of plant-based, chlorine-, ammonia- and phosphate-free detergents and multi-purpose cleaners to choose from. Or you can make your own safe, highly effective and “green” cleaning products from ingredients like baking soda, washing soda, borax, white vinegar, castile soap, and essential oils.

 

  1. Synthetic Air Fresheners & Scented Candles with Leaded Wicks

    According to one Consumer Product Safety Commission study, as many as 40% of candles on the market still contained lead wires inside their wicks. A candle with a lead-core wick has been shown to release five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for childrenand exceeds EPA pollution standards for outdoor air.It’s now believed that frequent candle burning –especially synthetically scented candles– is a major source of soot and toxic exposure because the chemicals (i.e. phthalates) used in “fragrance” oils tend to soften the wax, increasing the need to add metals to the wicks to stiffen them. Though candle soot is primarily composed of elemental carbon, it can include phthalates, lead, and other toxic ingredients such as benzene and tuolene.

    Scented aerosol sprays, gels, and plug-in air fresheners contain harmful chemicals linked to breathing difficulties, developmental problems in babies, and cancer in laboratory animals.

    Using essential oils in a diffuser or in a water-based aromatherapy spray is a perfectly safe and healthy way to scent your home. And certain essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary and lavender, can assist with sinus congestion associated with allergies, reduce stress, and enhance wellbeing. Always use candles made from 100% vegetable (soy) wax or beeswax with coreless cotton wicks, and scented with essential oils only.

Internal Spring Cleaning: 7 Tips for Successful Cleansing and Detox

Here are my top 7 tips to ensure your cleanse is successful and you are able to achieve real detoxification. Here’s hoping that your transition into spring is one that makes you feel lighter and full of energy to take on all the projects and activities that come with longer days and more sunshine!

    1. If you cleanse too hard, as can happen during a fast, you often end up with a “healing crisis” –an acute condition brought on by the process. This is due to the rapid release of toxins into your system, which is faster than your organs can handle them. Symptoms range from headaches and nausea to fever and rashes, and while these usually only last for the first couple of days, it can be very unpleasant depending on how toxic you are when you start.

 

    1. While it’s true that cleansing can jump start your weight loss efforts, be wary of products that are really weight loss products claiming to be detox and cleansing products too. These products may contain harsh ingredients and chemicals to jump-start a detox program that can also be harmful to the body. In many cases they are often just liquid-type diets intended for rapid weight loss by reducing or controlling calories, and don’t offer much by way of actual cleansing.

 

    1. One of the simplest and most common ways to cleanse your system is to simply increase your intake of quality fiber. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and goes through the body undigested until it reaches the colon. Fiber also stimulates the liver to release toxins back into the digestive tract so they can ultimately, be removed by the colon.

      There are 2 types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber (like psyllium husks) absorbs toxins and is the more gentle of the two. Insoluble fiber (like oat bran) sweeps the colon and is harsher, but when combined with liquid bentonite (clay), it’s remarkably effective at pulling material off colon walls that’s been there for years. Always remember, when eating more fiber, drink extra water. Because fiber absorbs fluids and expands, additional fluids are needed to keep it moving through the digestive tract.

 

    1. You don’t have to starve to cleanse. A good meal plan is the most significant part of a good cleansing program that’s not based on fasting. For at least 2 weeks, eliminate bread or flour products of any type (including pasta, cakes, cookies, cereal or crackers), dairy products, tropical fruit, fermented foods, sweets, caffeine and alcohol. Other foods to avoid are nightshade foods (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms), shellfish, peanuts, and grapes.

      During this time, your diet should consist of 80% alkaline and neutral ash-forming foods like green vegetables, non-tropical fruit, potatoes, squash, alkaline grains like millet, coldwater fish, onions, garlic, green tea and almonds. Eat less than 20% acid-forming beans, lentils, eggs, and grains (oats, corn, and wheat).

 

    1. A final component to include in colon cleansing is daily essential fatty acids from good quality oils. EFAs such as fish oils, flax, and borage oil can lubricate and soothe the colon in addition to proving nutritional support for other aspects of your body’s health and well being.

 

    1. As part of your detoxification, support your blood and lymph systems with teas containing blood-purifying herbs like burdock root, red clover or dandelion. Help blood and lymph circulate more effectively with dry brushing, or massage, and encourage toxin elimination through the skin via sweat-inducing exercise, Epsom salt baths, or dry saunas.

 

  1. Maintain a healthy internal environment by adding probiotics like plain yogurt or kefir and naturally fermented foods to your regular diet, to support the proliferation of healthy bacteria in your gut.

Whether your goal is to maintain longer-term health or simply to get back on track to better nutrition, a program of regular cleansing (i.e. at least twice a year, or ideally, once a quarter) can make all the difference in how you look and feel.

Is Your Body Overdue for a Spring Cleaning? Cleansing & Detoxification for Optimal Health

When spring arrives I’m usually thinking about spring-cleaning and looking forward to getting rid of some of the clutter that has accumulated during the fall and winter months! Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the ins and outs, and the importance of internal cleansing and herbal detoxification. The changing of the seasons is the time that a lot of people decide to cleanse –perhaps mimicking the cleansing effect of nature’s transition from the dead and darkness of winter into the light and freshness of spring. With the return of sunshine and longer days, the bloom of wildflowers dotting the landscape all around us, so comes the desire to start anew.

While cleaning house and getting rid of the clutter we’ve accumulated over the winter months seems almost second nature to most of us, how many of us routinely ponder the importance or necessity of a little internal spring-cleaning?

Our ancestors engaged in cleansing rituals at least twice a year –usually in the spring and in the fall. They probably weren’t fully aware of their bodies’ need to eliminate old cells and the toxins generated by their bodies’ normal ongoing metabolic processes in order to build healthy new tissue. And yet instinctively, they would ingest the herbs and plant foods that provided them with the detoxification necessary to promote natural healing.

We’ve come a long way since those days and are now faced with an unfortunate fact of modern life — routine exposure to a significant amount of additional toxins. Even if you don’t work directly with chemicals or live near a chemical or industrial plant or an obvious source of pollution, you still have dozens of environmental toxins –pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and byproducts from plastics –circulating in your bloodstream and stored up in your fat cells. In fact, research indicates that the average American is exposed to a staggering 100,000 chemicals, 25% of which are hazardous to human health.

With all that toxic exposure on top of the internal toxins generated through metabolic waste, it’s not hard to see how over time, the organ systems of the body responsible for processing and eliminating toxins become overloaded and inefficient. When toxins start to accumulate and increase in your tissues, a variety of conditions can show up –from fatigue, allergies, and asthma, to digestive disturbances, skin problems, or painful joints. If you experience these symptoms, it’s a good bet that inflammation is also present, and too much inflammation can lead to cellular damage, chronic disease, recurrent infections, and general immune system deficiencies.

The Metal and The Damage Done: Mercury

Last but not least of the Fearsome Four is Mercury. Next to Plutonium it is the most toxic naturally occurring substance on the planet. It’s a potent neurotoxin that disrupts the development of the central nervous system, posing the biggest threat to pregnant women, children, and teenagers. Pregnant women should take particular care because Mercury easily crosses the blood brain barrier and placenta, and can remain in the body for up to a year –potentially harming a baby’s growing nervous system and brain. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), children exposed to Methylmercury in Utero have trouble with attention, cognitive thinking, memory, language, fine motor and visual spatial skills, Adults with high mercury levels have trouble with vision, motor function, and memory. Low-level symptoms include memory loss, fatigue, insomnia, joint pain, or headache.

That’s because Mercury competes with oxygen for space in red blood cells. When oxygen can’t get through, the body is deprived of energy. That’s why fatigue is a common symptom of mercury poisoning. Scientists are just beginning to understand how chronic, low-level exposure to Mercury can contribute to chronic health problems often seen in adults like heart disease and cataracts. And consumer advocacy groups like the Policy Project warn that the elderly and people with autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure and other heart-disease risk factors may also be vulnerable.

So how do we become exposed to Mercury? Coal-burning power plants are by far, the biggest producers of mercury pollution –spewing about 98,000 pounds of Mercury into the air. Remember the definition of heavy metal? Well from the air, Mercury seeps into the ground and rivers, lakes, and oceans, where it’s absorbed by small micro-organisms like algae. From there, it makes its way up the food chain to bigger and bigger fish –becoming more and more concentrated at each level.  Sadly, once Mercury enters the environment, it never leaves.

Seafood remains the biggest source of exposure though there’s still some debate as to which fish to avoid. Shark, swordfish and tuna seem to be the worst offenders. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends avoiding sea bass and halibut as well. See www.ewg.org/safefishlist/ for a more complete list.

Another common source of mercury exposure is the dental amalgam fillings in your teeth. Though the potential harm from this is also hotly debated. The FDA now says amalgam fillings, which contain 50% elemental mercury, may have neuro-toxic effects but doesn’t explicitly advise pregnant women and children against them.

To minimize exposure to this metal, be careful what fish you eat and how often you eat it. Aim low on the food chain and if you have to eat tuna stick to light canned tuna or fresh yellowfin tuna, which are likely to be less contaminated than other types. If you have mercury filings, find a holistic dentist experienced in the removal of mercury fillings and get them replaced with less toxic fillings.

As an added measure of protection, eat seaweed with your fish. It’s a natural “chelator” in the gut. If you hate seaweed then take a selenium supplement (at least 200 micrograms) instead.

The Metal and The Damage Done: Lead

Lead is quite possibly the most dangerous of all the heavy metals because of the damage it can wreak on our bodies. This member of the Fearsome Four is a potent neurotoxin that affects brain development and the nervous system. Too much of it can be deadly.

Originally discovered as a by-product of smelting silver, this metal has been used by humans since the beginning of civilization. Until the 1970s, gasoline was single-handedly responsible for most of America’s lead emissions, and lead-based paint was the second biggest contributor to lead pollution. Before 1955 much of the white colored house paint used nationwide contained up to 50% lead. It wasn’t until the 1970s that government started lowering the allowable levels in paint to < 1%. As much as 86% of homes built before 1978 still contain lead-based paint!

Today one of the main sources of lead exposure in adults is drinking water contaminated from old lead pipes and faucets. Other common but not so obvious sources of lead exposure come through burning candles with lead-based wicks, and for women, using lipstick –many of which have been found to contain alarming levels of lead. In October 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released it’s report called ‘A Poison Kiss: The Problem of Lead in Lipstick.’ For more information or to download a copy of this report click here or read their Lead in Lipstick FAQs.

It’s estimated that people have anywhere from 125 to 200 mg of lead in their bodies –nearly 1000 times more than or ancestors! High lead levels can damage arteries, cause irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and hypertension. Unfortunately, there is no known level of lead that is safe for humans.

To reduce your exposure to this metal, avoid burning candles made with lead wicks and find natural alternatives to commercial lipsticks. If you drink tap water, run the tap for a few minutes to flush out any standing water from the pipes that may have been contaminated, or install a water-filtration system. And use low or no VOC paints, especially inside your home.

As an extra protective measure, up your intake of both Vitamin C and Calcium (the latter competes for space with the metal and keeps it from entering bone cells!).

The Metal and The Damage Done: Cadmium

Cadmium is the second heavy metal in the Fearsome Four — a growing source of environmental toxicity that should be avoided as much as possible. Found deep below the earth’s surface, it began contaminating the food and water supply when people started mining for zinc, which is often found mixed with cadmium. Since cadmium is naturally drawn to zinc it can elbow zinc out of the body –throwing key biological processes out of whack. Without a proper zinc-to-cadmium ratio, the body becomes more vulnerable to cadmium toxicity. And too much Cadmium can eventually lead to a depressed immune system, kidney damage, and cancer.

To lower your exposure to this metal, don’t eat refined grains (when grains are refined, the outer zinc-rich layers are stripped off and the cadmium-rich kernel is retained). Instead, eat zinc-rich foods like whole grains, beans and nuts.

Avoid inhaling cigarette smoke –either directly or indirectly. One cigarette contains 1 microgram of Cadmium. When smoked, 30% of a cigarette’s Cadmium is absorbed directly into the smoker’s lungs. The rest is released into the air.

Another insidious source of exposure appears to be kids’ jewelry, face paints, and toys so choose these items wisely.

As an added measure of protection against this metal, take a super green supplement that includes zinc, calcium and selenium –all 3 help the body rebuff cadmium deposits.

The Metal and The Damage Done: Arsenic

No doubt you’ve heard of the movie Arsenic and Old Lace where the dashing Cary Grant plays a character, who discovers that his delusional elderly aunts have been poisoning old lonely bachelors with Arsenic to put them out of their misery!

Clearly, Arsenic in the wrong hands can be used as a deadly poison! But did you know that it’s one of four heavy metals that we ingest, inhale or otherwise are exposed to every day? Scary huh? The other three are Cadmium, Lead and Mercury. I call them the Fearsome Four. When you learn just how much damage they can do to our bodies and our health, you will understand why!

First off, it helps to know why they’re called heavy metals. A metal is considered “heavy” if its gravity is at least 5 times heavier than water. The density of heavy metals increases the probability that they will end up in soil and water, which is why we’re so readily exposed to them. Several factors determine a person’s susceptibility to heavy metal toxicity. Three of the biggest include diet, exposure to pollution and genetic make-up. Although a large percent of metals are excreted from the body through sweat, urine, and the bowels, whatever your body can’t eliminate gets socked away in places that aren’t vital to maintaining life –mainly body fat, teeth, and bones. When heavy metals build up faster than the body can eliminate them you have what’s known as “bioaccumulation”.

There are two types of Arsenic –organic and inorganic. The former occurs naturally in the earth and small amounts are actually necessary for proper bodily function. The latter is a known carcinogen released into the air by burning fuels and coal as well as through widespread use of weed killers and pesticides. The wood industry is one of the biggest contributors to arsenic pollution and has used arsenic to preserve wood since the 1940s. An estimated 90% of wooden play structures, decks and picnic tables are made from arsenic-laced wood. Adults and children can absorb arsenic simply by touching wood treated with it. Other sources of arsenic exposure include herbicides and many foods, including meat, poultry and even wine (arsenic-containing pesticides are often sprayed on wine grapes).

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep cosmetics database identified Arsenic as a contaminant in about 641 beauty products –approximately 2.5% of all the products listed in the database.

The average person’s body contains about 10 to 20 mg of Arsenic. The good news is that the body efficiently rids itself of this metal. The bad news is that chronic exposure to low levels of arsenic can create problems for all your organ systems and is strongly linked to lung and skin cancer.

To lower your exposure to Arsenic:

  • Eat organic, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid insecticides and weed-killers (if you have to spray avoid products containing lead arsenate)
  • Keep children away from wood treated with chemicals
  • Avoid eating food directly off picnic tables or food that has come in direct contact with picnic tables Consider replacing treated wood in and around your home with newer, non-toxic alternatives like bamboo.

And as an added measure for protection, add more Vitamin C to your diet.

Heavy Metal Overload: The Key to Your Unexplained Symptoms?

Have you ever experienced depression, irritability, mood swings, tremors, autoimmune diseases, chronic infections, felt sluggish, or lost in a state of brain fog? Maybe you sought the opinion or help of a medical professional or health care practitioner in diagnosing or treating troublesome symptoms like temporary memory loss, fatigue, insomnia, joint pain, or headaches, only to have them tell you they can’t find anything wrong with you, or your blood work up, that points to a treatable diagnosis?

Even worse, when you get a diagnosis and are treated for it but the symptoms persist! This can often happen because symptoms like these are consistent with a variety of different health problems or conditions –including clinical depression, Lyme Disease, chronic fatigue, even cancer –which makes them hard to pin down.

If you or someone you know has had an experience like this, you may be suffering the effects of heavy metal toxicity. The most abundant and potentially deadly heavy metals in the environment are lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium, which separately and collectively can damage your nervous, immune, and reproductive systems.

These metals are naturally occurring in soil, present in herbicides and pesticides, and are released into the air via wood-burning stoves, car exhaust, fuel additives like MTBE, and even cigarette smoke. What makes them heavy is their gravity relative to that of water. The scary part is that these metals enter into your body on a daily basis, through your lungs, digestive tract, and skin, and can affect just about anyone regardless of profession or economic status.

Like it or not, if you eat fish, inhale second-hand smoke, drink water, or simply breathe the air, there’s a good chance you’re getting exposed to them and probably more often than you realize.

Chronic exposure to low levels of heavy metals don’t cause health problems right away, so unless you have a an acute case of something like Mercury poisoning   –which manifests distinct symptoms like impairment of peripheral vision, tingling in the hands and feet, lack of coordination, muscle weakness, and impairment of speech, hearing, and walking– then you could be building up exposure over a long period of time which can lead to problems down the road.

When confronted with the symptoms of metal toxicity, most physicians don’t think to look at heavy metals as the underlying cause of the ailment or the disease that may have resulted from it. To confound matters, sensitivity can vary, with some people developing symptoms at lower levels of exposure than others.

The only effective way to remove metals from the body is through a process of either oral or intravenous chelation. This is the natural detoxification process whereby specific organic molecules (usually amino acids) “grab” onto the metal molecules in your body to form complex ring-like structures called chelates that move the metals out. Many amino acids like NAC (N-acetyl Cysteine) and ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid), and liver supporting herbs like Silymarin (Milk Thistle), as well as sulfur compounds, are chelating agents that help the body excrete metals.