You are what you breathe!

Is the epidemic of obesity solely a result of poor food choices? People have had access to unhealthy foods like sugar and white flour for a long time, and the bad effects of these refined foods should not be minimized. But it has only been recently that we have had such huge increases in toxic chemical exposures in our food, water, and air. And this corresponds to the huge spike in cases of obesity.

John Molot

Weight gain/weight loss.

Summer in the city, lunchtime on a weekday. I walked through a park on my way to a meeting on a main street. It was a lovely day; clear blue sky and warm sunshine. The park benches were all occupied with people eating their lunch. I don’t usually peer into the lunches of strangers but I had been mulling over the obesity epidemic as a blog post topic – call it my research. 

I stopped and took a panoramic view of what people were eating. Here’s what I saw – a guy, eating out of a cardboard box – bright orange noodles with some thin slices of vegetables; two girls with plastic black boxes – penne with tomato sauce; subs and sandwiches, more black containers, cans of pop and iced tea.  I didn’t notice any obvious bags from home, and there were far more sweetened beverages and…

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Linking MCS and Autism

Whenever I hear that a friend is having a new baby, I’m happy for them. But I also cringe, knowing that the baby will probably be exposed to large amounts of toxicants in things like new paint and carpet in the nursery, scented laundry and personal care products, and cleaning chemicals. Here are some good, practical suggestions on how to reduce your baby’s chemical exposures and prevent illness.

John Molot

autism_jigsaw

Young women need to listen to the canaries

I’m in my 60s now, ten years into my second marriage, and my wife and I have six children between us. We are at a stage in life when our children are having babies and our friends and relatives of the same age are also becoming grandparents.  When we hear the exciting news – that we’re expecting a new grandchild – the combined feeling of joy and excitement is hard to describe, which helps to suppress the unspeakable worry; that the baby might be born with less than good health. And we have good reason for concern, because developmental disorders now affect one in six children.

Conditions like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affect almost 2% of children, which is 8 times higher than in the 90’s. Look at the following graph. What’s going on?

Autism-Prevalence-Since-2000

Some people blame the increase in ASD…

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Johann Hari’s Take on Addiction – It’s Not What you May Think

I want to make clear that, although the issue of drug abuse is  highly politicized, I do not mean to take a stance on the drug war by posting this article.  What interests me about it is Mr. Hari’s very interesting opinion on what actually causes addiction.  There seems to be quite a lot of evidence to suggest that it’s not what most of us have been taught to believe it is.  Yes, addictive substances can be dangerous, without a doubt.  But what makes the difference between the strung out addict who has repeatedly overdosed and the user who doesn’t seem to have been harmed, and even seems to be able to quit at will?  It may be as simple as this: connection.

Although I believe that genetics and nutrition also play a large role, I also believe that Johann Hari makes a very good point.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addicti_b_6506936.html

You Asked: Is Perfume Bad for Me?

It seems to be the assumption of many that objections to the use of fragrance are based solely on personal preference or unfounded fear. But the truth is that there is evidence that fragrance may be hurting everyone, not just the super-sensitive, as brought out in this blog post from Time.

TIME

For some it’s intoxicating. It may also be toxic.

From sneezing and wheezing to rash and headache, many people suffer an allergic reaction to perfume—even when it’s on someone else. “Anything that gives perfume an odor is very likely going to be an allergen,” says Dr. Heather Patisaul, a biologist at North Carolina State University who studies the way environmental exposures mess with human development. That means your cologne- or perfume-soaked colleague could be the cause of your runny nose.

“Look at your perfume bottle and read the ingredients,” she suggests. “It reads like a chemistry book.” You can get lost among all the benzyls and ethyls. But it’s the ingredient listed simply as “fragrance” or “parfum” that worries public health researchers like Patisaul. “Those terms are a catchall for 10,000 different ingredients,” she says.

Thanks to trade-secret laws protecting perfume and cosmetic makers from divulging the specific formulas for…

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The Myth of the Immaculate Gut

I’m so tired of cockamamie health advice that seems to start with the premise that we are nothing but a long, hollow tube beginning at the mouth and ending where the sun don’t shine.  Some presume, it seems, that keeping the tube squeaky clean at all times is the cure for every woe.  Juice fasts, enemas, and liver cleanses galore are prescribed for everything from acne to asthma.  Some of these treatments may have merit in certain situations, but I believe that total health depends upon more than an immaculate gut.

Something many people overlook in their quest for health is the fact that we are complex, finely tuned organisms, exquisitely sensitive to changes in our emotional and physical environment.  We have certain needs which are irreducible.  Physically, we need clean air, clean water, and adequate nutrition.  To be healthy mentally and emotionally, we need love, connection, and a feeling of safety.  These things are not negotiable, and any health advice that ignores these facts is likely to be harmful.

For example, the current juice fasting fad seems to be taking the world by storm.  Ask any confirmed health nut, including me unfortunately, if they’ve tried a juice fast and you’re likely to get a yes.  “If you’re clean inside, you’re green inside”, right? But the juice fast, or indeed any type of fast, ignores one basic truth: we need food.  I can already hear all the yes-buts. “Yes but, we are capable of going without food for a time, and fasting can be helpful, it’s even saved lives!”  I’m not an expert on fasting. Maybe there really are people who have turned their health around because of a fast.  What I have to go on is my own limited knowledge and experience, which tells me that fasting hurts.

Three years ago, I decided to try a juice fast.  Many of my friends were doing it.  I’d seen Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  I thought it might be the answer to some of my nagging health problems.  My goal was to sustain the fast for at least five days, knowing that, with my blood sugar issues, I probably wouldn’t be able to go much longer than that.  By day three I was miserable.  I felt scary-bad.  My blood sugar was a mess and my adrenals were shot.  I gave up and decided to eat, hoping that I would be able to regain some equilibrium within a few days, but that was not how it went down.  The fast was the beginning of a long downward slide.  It set off severe chemical and food sensitivities which I now believe were a result of the adrenal fatigue.

Because proteins DRIVE the detoxification process, cleanses based on juices, fruits or vegetables do not make a lot of sense.  – 17 Signs of Impaired Liver Detox

The “liver flush”  or “liver cleanse” is another very popular treatment intended to purge the body of toxins.  Again, I’m sure many people have benefitted from these treatments, but it should be recognized that a treatment this powerful can also be potentially harmful.  The liver cleanse requires at least a partial fast.  No protein or fat is to be taken for more than 24 hours.  After 2:00 PM the day of the cleanse, no food is to be eaten.  This type of fast is not extreme and seems reasonably safe for most people.  But for those with blood sugar issues or adrenal fatigue, it can be quite difficult, even harmful.  Some treatment protocols, including Hulda Clark’s, specify that an overdose of magnesium in the form of Epsom salts must be taken.  This, apparently has resulted in cases of hypermagnesemia.  The end result of the treatment is diarrhea, and for some, vomiting, which stresses the system and creates electrolyte imbalance.

My experience with the liver flush was extremely unpleasant, even traumatic.  I think I would have been fine with the diarrhea and vomiting, that passed pretty quickly.  But I did experience hypermagnesemia, which was really scary.  As there are very good alternatives to the liver flush, I would not ever do this to myself again.

I’ve noticed that, in addition to seeming rather extreme, many popular natural treatments seem to completely overlook the mind/body connection.  There is mounting evidence that our thoughts have a direct bearing on our physical and emotional health.  That may mean, among other things, that it’s not just the carotenoids in the carrot that affect our health, but also our thoughts and feelings about carrots.  Sound far-fetched?  Take a look at this .

But the mind/body connection goes far beyond digestion. If your thoughts can affect your gut, you can bet that they affect every other part of you as well.  Epigenetics Shatters the “Central Dogma”

So maybe it’s time to rethink this puritanical urge of ours to purge our bodies of impurities.  Maybe it’s not what we can squeeze out of our bodies that matters as much as what we put into them.  Maybe if we nourish ourselves, body and soul, the trash will take itself out.