Ingredients – Do you know where toxins hide?

Ingredients are important, but many of us are too busy to read the labels. They are important on everything we use from cosmetics, household cleaners, pesticides, drugs, food, water and so on. There are increasing links between the number of toxic chemicals that we take in and the number of health problems we have.
Part of the problem with the level of toxic chemicals we are now exposed to is that they tend to stay in the body. Once these toxins reach a critical mass, they can suppress your immune system and cause disease. Periodic cleansing is an important part of any natural health program, and it is as important to identify toxic chemicals in any products that you are still consuming and / or exposed to.
This is where becoming aware of ingredients matters. We live in a world where most of our food has some level of processing. Most of our cosmetics, shampoos and other toiletries are full of synthetic chemicals. On top of that, we use household cleaners, air fresheners, pesticides and many other products that fill the air we breathe with toxic chemicals.
If you are interested in being healthy, start reading your labels and question what is in there and if it is safe. I would start with your food. If you can’t pronounce it, I wouldn’t eat it. Look particularly for the excitotoxins that stimulate your nerve cells to death. These include any monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame, or sucralose (Splenda). Then look preservatives that have long chemical names. It is also important to eliminate hydrogenated oils – this means almost all margarines.
Then go to your shampoos and cosmetics and read the labels. Artificial color and fragrances are the first two things to get rid of. Then look for chemicals that you can’t pronounce. Many of them are petrochemical based. For example petrolatum (petroleum jelly) is used as a moisturizer, but it actually makes you skin dry and flaky in the long run. Petrolatum is in many lipsticks – I always wondered why lipstick made my lips peel.
Personal care products are typically filled with toxic chemicals. Even so-called “natural” products are not always clean. For instance, many natural products will contain sodium laurel sulfate, a sudsing agent that irritates the skin causing dry flaky skin and sometimes rashes. Also look for ethyl and methyl parabens which are preservatives. I particularly dislike these in natural progesterone creams because they tend to tie up the progesterone.
Many of us forget that what we breathe and put on our skin actually gets into our body and goes directly to the bloodstream without being filtered by the liver. Learn to question what you are using everyday and make healthier choices.
The other point I would like to make is don’t trust the government or the business making the product to determine what is safe and what is not safe. There are many popular products out there that are full of chemicals I would not use.
Remember that what is required to be on the label is legislated. There are chemicals that are used in processing that do not have to be disclosed. So labels can be deceptive –(on purpose). It is very important to do your own research and make your own decisions. Please be aware of the chemicals you are taking in by reading labels and researching the ingredients, brands and types of products.

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Detoxification – A Necessity!

Detoxification is a basic natural health solution. It is particularly important in this day and age when toxic chemicals are in our homes, our food, our air and our water – and of course, spring is a great time to think about cleaning.
A toxin is a substance that creates irritating and/or harmful effects to the body. Toxins tend to overwhelm our bodies and undermine our health over time. Signs of toxicity include lack of energy, forgetfulness, insomnia, digestive problems, arthritis and other joint related problems, bad breath or offensive body odor, acne, allergies, colitis, lower back pain, depression, neurological problems, etc.
There are currently over 80,000 chemicals that are licensed for commercial use, with approximately 2,000 new chemical compounds being introduced each year. What most of us fail to realize is how and where these toxins are used. Many of these chemicals are in products we are exposed to every day. Much of our food contains chemicals that do not have to be disclosed.
The Sinatra Health Report published a list of 20 toxins found in everyday life which are as follows: insecticides, prescription drugs, alcohol, air pollution, cigarette smoke, formaldehyde from carpets and processed wood, soft drinks made with phosphoric acid, trans fats in many prepared foods, char-broiled meats, hair dyes, cosmetics and other personal products, petrochemicals, heavy metals, nitrates found mainly in processed meats, radon, gasoline, chlorine, mercury contaminated fish, industrial chemicals in home cleaning fluids, and phtalates from plastics.
The list of toxic chemicals and their effects can go on and on. If you are interested, read about them. I like Dr. Don Colbert’s What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You and Ann Louise Gittleman’s The Fast Track One-Day Detox Diet.
There are many good detoxification plans. I like using herbal detox products that clean the body’s basic channels of elimination such as the colon, kidneys, skin, lymph system, liver, and lungs. There are also cleanses for heavy metals such as lead and mercury. There are products that help remove xenoestrogens which are toxins that mimic estrogen causing many problems including cancer.
One of the most fascinating aspects of toxicity is that the toxins can store as fat in the body. Many practitioners are beginning to blame the obesity epidemic on the toxicity of our food.
For spring cleaning, I recommend the herbal cleanse along with added fiber and an omega 3 oil. This herbal cleanse helps detoxify the organs of elimination and cleanses at a cellular level too. I have not found a better, gentler cleanse than the one we sell – there are many copy-cats, but have never seen great results with any of them. Customers report results that include feeling great, being regular, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, no more gallbladder attacks, weight loss, and more.
And you can always follow a basic cleanse with a heavy metal cleanse to get rid of more stored toxins.
Try some spring cleaning. Now is a good time to detoxify at a cellular level – and when your cells feel good, you do too.

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Inflammation – Outsmart Yours!

Chronic inflammation is a common symptom in most degenerative diseases. These include certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, chronic obesity, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury. Think of inflammation in relation to the swelling around a sprained ankle. The body handles this injury by sending certain chemicals to the area to start tissue repair. On the surface, this looks like swelling, but underneath the skin, much is going on to repair the damage and restore health to the ankle.
“Chronic inflammation” is a systemic response to injury. What is significant about chronic inflammation is that it triggers the genes within us that are preprogrammed to certain diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc. Each person reacts differently to prolonged inflammation, yet it will eventually break down organ function, weaken the heart muscle and cause conditions that lead to diabetes or even cancer.
There are a few major contributors to inflammation. They are high blood sugar, acid pH, food sensitivities and oxidation. Eating foods made with white flour and white sugar along with fried foods leads to high blood sugar, acid pH and /or oxidative stress – all contributors to inflammation.
Inflammation is a response to our lifestyle. If we eat foods that are highly acidifying, that cause high blood sugar and promote oxidative stress, then our genes will respond with inflammation and disease.
Controlling inflammation is a key to preventing and / or limiting degenerative disease. Several classes of nutritional supplements all work towards fighting inflammation. These include enzymes, anti-oxidants, essential fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals, herbs and probiotics. Green supplements such as liquid chlorophyll, spirulina and chlorella are also important in maintaining pH and increasing antioxidants.
Some of the better formulations for anti-inflammatory products include molecularly distilled omega 3 oils with high ratios of EPA and DHA; herbal blends that contain turmeric, ginger, and rosemary; enzyme formulations that are specifically for inflammation such as Intenzyme; herbal juice formulations such as noni and mangosteen that are both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory; and multi-vitamin and omega 3 oil products formulated specifically for anti-aging such as Biotics Research Vasculo-Sirt and EFA-Sirt. Major antioxidants such as pycnogenol, grape seed extract and resveratrol also seem to help reduce inflammation and to protect genes.
The best approach to controlling inflammation begins with choices you can make. Stop eating pro-inflammatory foods such as those made from white flour and white sugar. Remove hydrogenated oils from shortening, margarine and fried foods from your diet. Add healthy, anti-inflammatory oils such as olive oil, macadamia nut oil, flax oil and fish oil to your diet. Eat plenty of alkalizing fruits and vegetables. Avoid acidifying foods such as sodas, artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives, white sugar and white flour. Also exercise moderately.
You can outsmart your inflammation. Although you may have a genetic predisposition to certain conditions, you can control the factors that activate those genes so that you can avoid or limit the condition.

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Health Check – Tuesday February 18th

If you made a New Years Resolution to be healthier in 2014, consider getting laboratory blood work so that you know your numbers. Knowing your numbers is a great way to monitor your health and make changes that help you be healthier.
Standard blood work can give lots of information about nutritional intake, digestion, mineral balance, immune status, liver function and kidney function. Regular blood work as a preventive tool tells you what areas to target and if the things you are doing are actually working.
In most cases, health problems do not begin overnight. What if your blood work is “normal” for several years in a row, but steadily moving towards the end of a “normal” range? Wouldn’t you want to know and be able to make some changes so that you do not progress into the “disease” range? Being able to look at your blood work in this manner could make big differences in your overall health in the long run.
Abnormal blood chemistry usually indicates an underlying functional issue. For example, high triglyceride and cholesterol levels are typically used as markers for cardiovascular risk, but they also can indicate deficiencies of essential fatty acids, blood sugar issues, liver / gallbladder dysfunction, thyroid problems and poor digestive function.
For long-term health, I believe it is much better to solve the underlying health issue instead of taking a pill to deal with the symptoms. Nutritionally oriented practitioners will use narrower blood ranges to help pinpoint deficiencies and / or functional issues that can be addressed with nutrition. Using narrower blood ranges helps identify issues that are not yet “clinical”.
I like to use the blood testing services to “check out” how I am doing. Since I can’t afford everything at once, I rotate through certain tests if I think I have an issue. For example, last year, I tested my vitamin D levels to see if I was within recommended ranges. I was, so the next time, I checked C-Reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.
There are many different tests. From basics like blood sugar and cholesterol, to inflammation markers, cardiovascular risk, to iron levels and more.
The Green House sponsors a group called Health Check three times per year at regular intervals. Health Check is an independent lab that performs health screenings full time. On Tuesday, February 18th, they will be at the Green House in Mason from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. to take blood for laboratory analysis. This service is relatively inexpensive and completely confidential. Call us at 325-347-6040 if you would like more information.
Knowing your numbers and keeping up with them allows you to take control of your health. Remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

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