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Toxic Burden

Updated: Jun 26, 2019


It is hard to escape the chemicals that are in just about everything around us. Although, we all can do our part to not use or purchase the harshest chemicals that have damaging impacts on human and environmental health. It can get quite overwhelming to replace everything or just to think of the toxin overload. Items can be replaced one at a time, until the really bad products are cleared out. Awareness is what is important, so educated choices can be made going forward.


The average person uses up to fifteen different products before they leave the house and these products are filled with synthetic chemicals and fragrances. Then a synthetic perfume is sprayed on top of all that.


A synthetic fragrance is a chemical scent that is manufactured in a lab. An essential oil is the pure natural compounds that are extracted from a natural product of nature. Natural products of nature work in alignment with our bodies and have incredible healing properties. The synthetic fragrances have a negative effect on our health and have been shown to disrupt our endocrine system.


It is interesting how so many people anoint their thyroid with synthetic perfumes by rubbing or spraying these fragrances on their neck. So many people have thyroid disorders and this is just one toxic burden that can be eliminated for better health. These synthetic chemicals overtake homes in soaps, shampoos and conditioners, lotions, toothpaste, cosmetics, perfume, deodorant, dish soap, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, cleaning products, candles, spray deodorizers and so many more.


If an ingredient of the product is stated as a, “fragrance,” then it is a manufactured synthetic product and it is not natural.


The products used in the shower are very concerning, because the steam from the hot water opens our pores of our skin and allows the chemicals in the products to permeate faster. Our skin is considered the largest organ of the body. It is supposed to protect our inner parts and keep what is bad from entering in. This is not always possible, because our skin is permeable and many chemicals can pass through. These chemicals can also pass through glands and hair follicles, leaving us vulnerable to the many that we come into contact daily.


Many work environments pose an added danger, aside from what has already been used at home before going to work. Farmers breathe in pesticides and get them all over their skin. Those in the cleaning business breathe in chemicals and immerse their hands into them. Store clerks who work in the perfume department are inundated with breathing in these toxins. There are too many examples to name here.


The toxic burden on our bodies can become so immense and each product that can be swapped out for a natural one can lower that burden a little more.



Remove the Toxic Burden


It can be overwhelming and expensive to remove the entire chemical toxin list from our lives, but it can be done a little at a time. Every time a product runs out, its natural alternative can be purchased.


Categories of the most toxic burdens surrounding us every day are listed below. The indoor air of many homes is more toxic, than the air outside.


Let’s start in the kitchen…


Kitchen


Non-stick Cookware


Teflon or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), as well as other non-stick materials, are harmful synthetic polymers that can release fumes into the air and leach cancerous toxins into our foods. The fumes alone have been fatally toxic to birds and have also been linked to infertility. This is just one of the chemicals in the perfluorinated chemicals (PFC’s) class, which can be found in furniture, carpeting and flame-retardant pajamas. This class of chemicals has also been shown to be an endocrine disruptor and has been associated with tumors of the breast, testes, liver and prostate.


Companies that make non-stick cookware defend their pans by claiming they are not toxic when cooking at lower temperatures, but the pans heat up extremely fast to high temperatures. It becomes even more dangerous as the coating starts to wear, which is scary, because people keep their cookware for many years.



Aluminum Cookware and Foil


Aluminum is very toxic. It is a metal that is similar to mercury, as it can build up in our brain and tissues. Pots and pans that are made out of aluminum are best tossed out. We should all think twice before wrapping a potato or vegetables to roast, as the aluminum will leach into the food as it is heated.


Foil can be used to tent a pan, but it is best not used to wrap food to be heated. It is also advised not to use foil to wrap acidic foods, such as tomatoes, that can react with the aluminum.



Replace them with…


Replace non-stick cookware with cast iron pans. The original Lodge cookware is fairly cheap. A cast iron pan is only around $20.00 with a nice glass lid. These pans come already seasoned, which are non-stick and they are easy to clean. After cooking, water can be boiled in the pan to release any food that may be cooked on and then the pan can be washed. Dry it off and then put it over the fire to dry thoroughly. Rub coconut or avocado oil to coat while the fire is on. It is now prepared for its next use. We also get an extra dose of iron when cooking with cast iron cookware. These pots and pans last for a very long time.


Another option is stainless steel pots and pans. These are very safe, durable and a nice long-term investment. It is important to ask if the pot or pan is indeed stainless steel and is actually not aluminum.



Storage Containers


Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a plastics chemical and is found in plastic storage containers, water bottles, plastic counter filter, cashier receipts and as an epoxy lining in canned foods. They have replaced some items with Bisphenol-S (BPS), but we still do not know the effects of it and it is still a Bisphenol. These chemicals have been linked to endocrine disruption. The Environmental Working Group states that 93% of the population is polluted with this chemical. It has raised concerns for children reaching early puberty, pregnant women, breast and prostate cancer, and a study has shown a BPA link to diabetes, heart disease and liver toxicity. Plastic containers are more of a risk when food is heated in them and when water bottles are sitting in the sun or in a hot car.



Replace them with…


Glass containers are safe for storing food in the refrigerator and freezer. They can be lined with parchment paper or individual items can be placed in parchment paper baking cups for easy removal of one item at a time. It is nice so they do not all stick together. The natural brands that are compostable and unbleached are the best choice, because your food is directly touching it.


Glass containers are great for storage in the refrigerator, freezer and cabinets. Various sizes of jars are nice for broths or soups. Jars can be cleaned and saved from store bought items and used for storage or canning jars could be purchased as a good investment.



Cooking Utensils


Plastic cooking utensils leach the plastic chemical toxin Bisphenol-A (BPA) into hot food every time they are used. They will release more toxins as they age and show more wear with open scratches.



Replace them with…


Stainless steel, wooden or bamboo utensils are great investments for the kitchen. Wooden and bamboo utensils can be purchased for fairly cheap. Stainless steel utensils are a little more expensive, but will last a lifetime. One large utensil can be purchased at a time until there is a complete set.



Coffee Pod Machines


Keurig and other coffee machines using pods are a serious health risk. They cannot be cleaned and the standing water inside collects mold and bacteria.


They have been praised for the convenience of slipping a pod in and having a cup of coffee seconds later. For a while, none of the pods were recyclable and they were really creating a lot of plastic waste. There is a goal for all k-cups to be recyclable by 2020. However, it still raises a concern to have hot water pass through the chemicals of plastic. Another question to ask is if the coffee is even fresh?


A French Press is a nice alternative, as it can be cleansed thoroughly and a high quality organic coffee can be chosen.



Dishwashing Detergents


We bathe our hands in these chemicals, while doing dishes by hand and then we eat or drink from these dishes. Dishwasher detergents are also filled with a high amount of chemicals and synthetic fragrances. It really does not make any sense why there is so much perfume in products that are used to wash what we drink ant eat from. These are added chemicals that are not needed and are very harmful to our health. The synthetic fragrances alone are chemicals that disrupt our endocrine system.



Sponges


Yellow with a green top or the thick dark blue sponges rinse colors out of the sponge for many uses. This coloring goes all over the dishes and on our skin. These sponges are made from petroleum-based polyurethane and are also filled with toxic antibacterial chemicals.



Replace them with…


Replace the chemical loaded products with natural products that are free and clear of chemicals and fragrances. The product can be checked on the Environmental Working Group website for its rating.


Baking soda can be used as an abrasive to clean a pan or teacup that needs a little extra scrubbing.


Sponges made from one hundred percent cellulose plant or wood material are a better option, plus they are not filled with toxic chemicals and synthetic dyes. Vegetable coloring is used if they are colored. It is just still important to make sure to not have them in standing water and change them often, as all sponges can hold bacteria.



Synthetic Fragrance Soaps


Some people have an extra hand soap product in their kitchen, which makes it another product with chemicals and synthetic fragrances to add to the daily toxic burden.



Replace them with…


These soaps can be swapped out for castile soap if it is important to have separate hand soap. Essential oils can be added for a nice scent. Citrus, such as lemon or grapefruit are common scents for the kitchen or get creative and use basil and lemon or other scents. Essential oils are naturally antibacterial. There are also inexpensive natural soaps from Whole Foods, Trader Joes and other similar stores. These soaps are often cheaper to buy in bulk and refill smaller containers.



Kitchen Cleaning Products


Cleaning products fill the home with toxic chemicals and pollute the air quality. Most of the chemicals are not even disclosed on the label. These chemicals have been linked to asthma and cancer. Visit the Environmental Working Group’s website, ewg.org, to learn more.



Replace them with…


All that is needed in the kitchen are non-toxic dish soap and dishwasher detergent, baking soda and white vinegar. Castile soap can also be used to wash dishes, countertops and floors. Citrus or rosemary essential oils can be used for their antibacterial properties. Any other products with fancy names and uses are not needed and are just an extra expense and more chemicals to contend with.



Drinking Water


Our waterways are polluted with environmental toxic runoff from farms that use pesticides. They are also polluted with cleaning products, personal care products and pharmaceutical drugs from what goes down our drains. These chemicals are aside from the chlorine and fluoride added to our water system, which are damaging endocrine disruptors.


The common kitchen counter water filters are not the best choice for our drinking water. They are plastic containers that can leach BPA into the water over time and also only filter chlorine and some basic contaminants.



Replace them with…


Water filtration systems are needed to purify our water, not just filter it. It is best when they are in stainless steel or glass vessels. The healthier choices will be more expensive, but our health is well worth it.


Berkey is a good choice counter purifier and it is a stainless steel container.


It is also wise to own a couple reusable water bottles made from stainless steel or glass and stay far away from water in plastic bottles that most often sit in a hot warehouse allowing the BPA to leach into the water.


An entire house filtration system is a wonderful and healthy choice, if it is in an acceptable price range for the homeowner. They can be really expensive.


Household


Cleaning products


The use of more chemicals increases our toxic load and minimizes our air quality in the house and is bad for our health.


Sadly, when these chemicals are tested, they are only tested as a single chemical and not how they react together, which would certainly show a larger risk to our health.



Replace them with…


We can clean our entire house with a few items. Castile soap is the base of all soaps and can be purchased in bulk to use for cleaning. Different essential oils can be added for different scents per room if that is an interest. Baking soda, white vinegar and essential oils of Tea tree and eucalyptus are great for cleaning.


Inexpensive castile soap and essential oils can be purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs at www.mountainroseherbs.com.


The following is a basic recipe from the Foundations of Essential Oil Classfound at www.tinadematteo.com



Surface Cleanser


This surface cleanser can be used to disinfect counter spaces where there will be cooking and any other surface area that needs cleansing. The synergy can also be added to soap as a 2% solution instead of a spray bottle for a different kind of cleanser. This is a blend that can be used for cleaning any room.


Synergy

• Tea tree 9

• Lemon 9

• Eucalyptus 4

• Thyme 2


Make a 2oz spray

• Add 10% witch hazel or vodka as a preservative

• Add 24 drops of the synergy

• Add purified water to fill the bottle

• Pound the bottle against the palm of the hand to incorporate the blend



Indoor Environment


The indoor environment for many people is often more toxic than outdoor pollution and chemicals. We bring in pesticides and other toxic chemicals on our shoes from the outdoors, but the chemicals that our homes are filled with from cleaning products; personal care products, furniture and carpet off gassing are also very toxic to our health.


Our houses are filled with furniture that off gas chemicals and are filled with polyurethane foams and flame-retardants. Carpets contain adhesives and other chemicals, plus they retain dust and other particles, allergens, animal dander and whatever is brought in from outside.


Sofas and chairs with upholstery are usually covered in flame-retardants and the chemicals are off gassed in the house for a very long time. This is breathed in and especially when we sit and lay on them.


Our pets are the first to experience the chemicals on the floor and sofas, which makes it wise to consider safer cleaning products and furniture options for our furry family members.


Wood furniture that has been stained and particleboard adhesives will off gas those chemicals for a long time.


Candles and air fresheners are another burden on our health. They are filled with toxic chemicals and fragrances that are so bad for our health and they pollute the entire air quality within the house.


Paint is filled with chemicals that will off gas for years called volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). The government has regulated VOC’s, because of the toxic burden that they create indoors and into the environment, but they are still in paint, unless stated VOC free.



Replace them with…


Bamboo or cork flooring is a wonderful alternative to wood flooring and is also more sustainable. Leave the stain behind, as it will off gas those chemicals for years.


There are wood bookcases and furniture that are not stained, as long as it is real wood and not particleboard, because that is filled with adhesive chemicals.


It can take a lot of time and actually should take time to find new furniture that can impact our health so much. Choose options with wool stuffing or other organic materials. Organic materials will of course be more expensive. Choices will have to be made on the cost and benefit of spending extra money. If money were not a concern, then it would certainly be wise to choose the healthiest furniture, just as we would with food. We pay now or pay later in healthcare costs.


If organic materials are not an option, then we can make sure to keep the air flowing with the windows open and fans blowing toward the window, plus covers could be placed over them—remembering to wash the covers often. It can also be cool to create a fun project and upholster a frame of furniture at home with the absolute knowing of what that piece is made of.


A better choice for paint is the VOC-free varieties of paint, which are a better choice that claims to have reduced toxins with no off gassing.


•Candles: There are safe and non-toxic candles that are made with beeswax and essential oils. There are also supplies and recipes to make them at home. This can be a fun and a cheaper option—and who knows, it can turn into a passion that turns into selling them or at least giving them away as gifts. A diffuser can be purchased to diffuse pure essential oils through the air.


*It is not an essential oil if it says “natural fragrance.” This would be a synthetic chemical fragrance. Be cautious of big chain stores that mass-produce products in their name. They are not high in quality.



Make a Spray


Make a 2 oz. spray: Add 24 drops of a chosen essential oil to the bottle and fill with purified water. Choose citrus to lift a mood, floral oils to invoke a feeling of love, peppermint for clarity, or lavender, frankincense or vetiver for a calming effect.


Consider opening the windows to air out the house, especially when cleaning. Air filtering units are highly recommended as well.


Remembering to remove our shoes when coming into the house is important and not to feel bad to ask others to remove them as well. It is bad enough that we have pesticides everywhere, but we do not have to walk them into our home.



Mold and Mycotoxins


A review of studies published in the open access journal, Toxins, found that mold and mycotoxins were the culprit to developed chronic illnesses after being exposed to water damaged buildings. They found mold harbored inside the body in biofilm. They produced and released mycotoxins, which was the contributor to the chronic illnesses. Tests can be done to detect mycotoxins in the urine.


Mold is found in water-damaged buildings or anywhere there was a flood, a leak or just a damp/humid environment, like a basement. It is not only in homes, mold is often found in office and school buildings. The walls will usually show mold, but it can be hiding. Having mold in the house is a very serious issue and cleanup requires true professionals to remove the mold and it is still questionable if it was removed one hundred percent. If health issues persist, then it would be wise to consider a move.


Everyone is not affected by mold. It will depend on current health and a genetic predisposition to be affected by mycotoxins. That is why only one person from a family might be affected and the others are not. Patients who have been sick for a long time and feel that they have tried everything else would be wise to check if they have mycotoxins contributing to their illnesses.


It is also a good tip to literally clean out the nose, as mycotoxins have been found in the sinuses in communities of biofilm.


Leave the home for at least week and take as little as possible with to see if when back in the environment if the feeling comes back.



Mold in our food…


Eliminate peanuts and other legumes, nuts, including almonds, walnuts and brazil nuts, plus coffee and corn from the diet, as these crops can harbor mold that produce the secondary metabolite, called aflatoxins. This particular mold metabolite has been considered a carcinogen.


Peanut allergies are often caused by the exposure to the mold and not the peanut itself. Roasting nuts at a low temperature can minimize the risks.


Also, only purchase high quality organic coffee and store in a cool dry place out of the refrigerator that creates condensation in the product.



Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener


Laundry detergent is loaded with chemicals and synthetic fragrances that negatively affect our health and the environment. They are endocrine disruptors and they are imbedded into clothes, bed sheets and towels and they are touching the skin all day and night.


Switching laundry detergents to a natural product is an important change, because of the contact our laundry makes to our skin, but these chemicals are blown outside and the water is flushed into our waterways and have a very negative impact on the environment.1


It is an interesting note that some natural products actually rate low with the Environmental Working Group. Lavender was given a C in ECOS laundry detergent. Large quantities of a natural product can have an effect, but it is important to see what the ingredient is and know that it is much safer for our health and the environment, than a synthetic chemical.


Fabric softener and dryer sheets are loaded with chemicals and synthetic fragrances that are really bad for the environment and our health.


Educating others is also important. We can make the choice to stop using dryer sheets, but live in an apartment building where everyone else is using them and the smell comes right in. We can all do our part to learn as much as we can and also spread the word for our health, the health of our planet and all of our wildlife.



Replace them with…


Replace with natural laundry soap. Seventh Generation is a better choice than the known mass-produced name brands. The rating of the product can be checked at the Environmental Working Group.


Some of the products that are made to be “natural” receive a bad rating from EWG. We just have to know that we are still doing better with that product than the others, but we should still choose the best rated.


It is also important to remember that every time that we purchase a product in a plastic bottle, that it still had to be manufactured and will need to be broken down.


To scent clothes—wet a washcloth and put a few drops of essential oil of your choosing on it and toss it in the dryer on cool. You can also make an essential oil spray by adding 24 drops of essential oil to a 2 oz. spray bottle and spray clothes, sheets and towels after taken out of the dryer. It is not a good idea to put the oils in a hot dryer, because the scent will just burn off in the heat and not do much.



Dry Cleaning


Conventional dry cleaners use extremely dangerous chemicals and fragrances that are harmful to our health and to the environment.


Perchloroethylene (PERC) is a chemical solvent that is used by the majority of conventional dry cleaners. They use this solvent to extract the soil from the clothing. It stays in the clothes and it is worn next to the skin. It is found in our drinking water, the air and in our soil.


It was suggested in 2008 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that PERC be classified as a "likely human carcinogen" The EPA further stated that the most dangerous non-cancerous toxicity is brain and nervous system damage.



Replace with…


Green Dry Cleaning


There are four different methods used in green cleaning. They will use a wet cleaning method, which is gentler than how we would normally wash clothes in our machine washers.


The three other methods follow the solvent method, but are safer. These methods use hydrocarbon, carbon dioxide (CO2) or silicon-based cleaners instead of the Perchloroethylene.


Wet cleaning and the carbon dioxide are the safest for our health and for the environment. The other two still have a concerning impact on the environment. The hydrocarbon is actually made from petroleum and the manufacturing of the silicone-based solvent uses chlorine in the process.



Bathroom Toxins


Bathrooms need to be kept clean, but clean does not mean that it is clear of toxins that are bad for our health. The smell of plastic chemicals from shower curtains, strong chemical cleaning products and all of the products and synthetic fragrances that are used in the bathroom can be a very unhealthy start to a day.


Shower Curtain


The popular cheap vinyl shower curtains are so bad for our health. As soon as they are opened from the package, they emit plastic chemicals, phthalates, which are endocrine disrupters. These chemicals stay in the air for such a long time and the heat from the shower makes it even worse for us to breathe in.


Consider replacing the vinyl with organic cotton fabric and linen curtains instead. There is inexpensive non-toxic options available online. These truly are a must have, because of the time that we spend in the shower every day and with the help of the steam to release these toxins into the air.



Shower Filter


Filters really do make a difference on our skin and for our lungs. We spend time in the shower every day and expose our skin and lungs to chlorine and so many other impurities. There are fairly inexpensive shower filters that can be purchased online and they are easy to attach to the existing showerhead.


Cleaning Products


Castile soap, baking soda and essential oils of tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender are good bathroom oils to add to a base soap or spray.


Towels


Non-organic towels are filled with strong dyes that can contain heavy metals. They contain pesticide residue from the conventional cotton used, which is then further processed with bleach and additional chemicals. Flame-retardants are then added for a further toxic burden.


Personal Care


This can be a long list, which starts with what is used in the shower to start the day. There are at least fifteen products used before the person leaves the house. Soaps, shampoo, conditioner, lotions and other various products all contain high amounts of chemicals and synthetic fragrances. Then a synthetic perfume is sprayed on and breathed in.


Synthetic colognes and perfumes are so bad for our health, yet so many people cover themselves with these chemicals. It is also interesting that it is sprayed or smeared right over the thyroid on the neck and these chemicals are endocrine disruptors.


•Toothpaste contain Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), parabens, artificial sweeteners, artificial coloring and fluoride to name some. Fluoride is so damaging to our health. It is added to our water and our toothpaste. It is interesting that the labels will say to keep out of reach of children and if swallowed to call poison control.


There are natural toothpastes without these chemicals. It is actually healthier to rinse with peroxide and brush with baking soda. A few drops of peppermint essential oil can be added to the small container of baking soda.


A recent study revealed that popular used floss contained higher than normal PFAS. PFAS are the same chemicals that are used in non-stick cookware and allows a product to become more slippery. They are endocrine disruptors and have been linked to infertility and thyroid disorders.


There are natural alternatives that will advertise chemical free.

Bamboo toothbrushes are also a good choice that will ease the plastic burden on our planet. They are inexpensive when bought online in bulk.


•Antiperspirant contains aluminum, parabens and other chemicals and fragrances that are applied right next to the breasts. Antiperspirant should not be used anyway, because it stops us from sweating. Sweating is needed for us to release impurities and cleanse.


We need to sweat it all out. If we sweat too much, then that needs to be addressed for its root cause. If we smell, then that is also an indicator of too much heat or acidity in the body and needs to be addressed as well. A simple product with basic essential oils can be made and used instead of applying cancer-causing chemicals. All essential oils are anti-bacterial and can help to eliminate odor by inhibiting the bacteria that form from sweat.


The manufactures push back on claims of aluminum being toxic, but everyone has to remember that they are trying to sell a product. This goes for any pushback, especially from the pharmaceutical industry. Always ask the question of what is in it for them and why are they for this product. As for us consumers, why, oh why even take a health risk? Life is too short and precious.


•Cosmetics are filled with phthalates, parabens, fluorinated chemicals, synthetic fragrances and coal tar. These chemicals and preservatives are hormone disrupters and have been linked to thyroid health concerns and cancer. The more products that are used will raise the cumulative toxic burden on our system.


Visit the Environmental Working Group’s website, ewg.org, to learn more about these personal

care products and cosmetics. They give tips on what products to replace them with.



Bedroom Toxins


Mattress


A mattress is one of the places that we spend many hours of our time laying directly on the product.


Standard mattresses are filled with toxic chemicals. They are filled with polyurethane foam, formaldehyde and flame-retardants and can off-gas for many years.


Choose organic mattresses and natural wool toppers. If a new mattress is not a possibility at any time soon, an organic wool topper can be an investment to place on top of the mattress, which will also create a nice barrier between. Plus, sleeping on organic sheets will help to minimize the toxic burden as well.


Non-organic sheets and blankets are filled with strong dyes that can contain heavy metals. They contain pesticide residue from the conventional cotton used, which is then further processed with bleach and additional chemicals. Flame-retardants are then added for a further toxic burden.


Children’s pajamas


Children are always going to want the new princess or super hero pajamas, but they are filled with fire-retardants that are laying right on their skin and they breathe them in all night.


It would be a healthier choice to find all cotton pajamas or material to make them. The material could be the same color with added accents to go along with the theme of the latest super hero and could even be a cooler look.


Candles


Ditch the heavy smelling synthetic candles and choose a healthier option, such as diffusing an essential oil like lavender in the air.


Light


Light is so important to consider for sleeping. Our body is meant to follow a schedule of waking

up with the sun and going down with the sun. The blue light alone from our light bulbs and computer light is indeed a toxin to our body when it is taken in at the wrong time of day or for too long.


See information in Toxin and Our Sleep below…



Toxic relationships


We are wise to remove toxic people from our lives. Of course, it is not always possible to remove our parents, spouse or co-workers. We can limit the time with those who are difficult to be around and make ourselves a priority to heal. It is important to learn what is safe for us personally and to follow that truth.


When we learn to heal ourselves, we are able to see what is truly unhealthy for us, whereas before healing, toxic relationships are often seen through the lenses of old wounds that has them felt as an unhealthy comfortable that keeps us stuck in nonproductive patterns.


We are wise to only surround ourselves with those who we truly know love and support us. Toxic relationships affect our health profoundly. They create so much stress within that leads to other health concerns. We need people in our lives that we feel emotionally safe with and who we can share our ideas, dreams and goals without resistance or negative interference. When there is emotional safety and trust, we can collaborate and get to our goals faster.


To only allow healthy relationships will eliminate a stressful burden that only turns to toxic

negative health concerns. When we make our health a priority, then we have a better chance for everything else in our life to flourish.



Toxins and Our Physical Health


We need good health before anything else. If we do not have our health, we are unable to do what we need to do and all of the things that we want to do and enjoy. Nourishing healthy food should be a priority for everyone. We only get this one vessel that we are in for this lifetime and it would be wise to take care of it as much as we can.


It is further important that we pay attention to the quality of our food that we are consuming. Food bought in packaged boxes and bags are not considered good quality or real food. They are filled with preservatives, chemicals, artificial coloring and names that cannot even be pronounced. It is best to eat fresh organic and local foods when possible.


Conventionally grown genetically modified foods and the amount of pesticides that are sprayed on crops is a serious concern for our health. These pesticides are having a grave affect on our microbiome and our entire health in a profound way. It is critical these days to eat organic, because of all the pesticides and its effect on our health. There have been consistent reports on more food allergies and sensitivities, which only confirms the detrimental effects that these pesticides are having on our health.


Environmental Working group (EWG) has a very popular food list called, “Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen” that shows what foods contain the largest amount of pesticides and which are safe or not to consume. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/


Many health concerns are so often misdiagnosed and medications are prescribed without

learning the root cause of the experienced symptoms. Panic and anxiety attacks are diagnosed as mental disorders and are more often than not caused by food sensitivities. Asthma is another concern that has many on multiple medications, when it can also be caused from sensitivities to food. Education on food and the root causes of health concerns is critical for us to be aware of how our diet and lifestyle choices truly make a difference in our health.


It is so true of the saying that one man’s medicine is another man’s poison. Many of us are sensitive to very healthy foods, due to many factors, which proves how we are all unique in what is good for us and what is not, even if it is a “healthy” food. Plus, so many people already have a huge amount of stress that is creating additional health concerns.


Education and awareness are the keys to making life a lot simpler. We have to be aware of what we are putting in our body and ask ourselves the cost to benefit. Is it really worth it if we are going to be sick the entire next day or contribute to larger health concerns that we already have? It makes more sense to live a higher quality life, currently and long term. However, we all take the steps to our evolution at our own pace and we will get there at the right time in the right way.


Never give up. Sometimes learning about what is contributing to a health concern or other life adversities can be the final answer after many trials, but will inevitably come with much wisdom from the process.



Toxins and Our Sleep


Sleep affects every area of our lives and definitely affects our emotional state. We are known to get cranky when we are tired and have more energy and are in a better mood when we have had a good night sleep. We are living in a world with added daily stress and more caffeine intake to keep up with the constant and overwhelming demands. Our bodies are crying out for more sleep, but instead, we are a society of zombie-like sleep-deprived individuals walking around.


Caffeine is more often than not, a significant reason for sleep issues. Coffee is consumed in the morning in larger amounts than one eight-ounce cup. There are often two shots of espresso added, sugar, whipped cream and other additives involved. Many people have coffee or other caffeinated sugared beverage at lunch and then back to the coffee shop in the afternoon for another coffee with additives. It is not surprising that so many people have insomnia. The caffeine is not even out of the system in time for bed, as it takes around six hours and has been compounded daily.


Our bodies cannot handle this constant stress. Sleep time is when we are supposed to heal and detox. It is important to get adequate sleep every night and get in tune with our natural circadian rhythm. Our bodies are meant to wake up with the sun and go down with the sun. As the sun begins to rise, the light triggers a response to wake up as our cortisol levels begin to rise. As the sun starts to go down, our melatonin production kicks in and is at its peak at 10pm, exactly the latest that we should be going to sleep.


The most restorative time for our body to heal is from 10pm to 2am. Similarly, according to the TCM time cycle, Liver and Gall Bladder time is from 11pm to 3am and is a time for detoxification. Many hormonal and healing reactions take place during the 10pm to 2am time frame and are supposed to prepare us to cope with all of the stress we will encounter the following day. We cannot get that restorative sleep back by sleeping in or taking a nap the next day. Sleep is critical to our health and should be seen as an absolute priority.


A study was published in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Journalthat compared

the effects on the performance of sleep deprivation and alcohol consumption. The study revealed that the sleep deprivation subjects performed equivalent or worse on tests than those who were given alcohol. Another study from the National Institutes of Health showed that poor sleep is linked to cardiovascular disease. Less sleep taxes our system and creates inflammation. We may get by without adequate sleep, but it is fundamental to good health.


Not sleeping affects our diet, as we reach for simple carbohydrates, sugar and caffeine to lift us from our exhaustion. Later, alcohol is consumed as another mood enhancer, which creates toxic build up in the liver and leads to a range of emotions. These diet and lifestyle choices lead to negative emotions and behavior that affects our relationships and our performance at work.


A balanced diet will contribute to a balanced mood. Blood sugar imbalances often lead to expressing anger, which can be calmed by eating a balanced diet. Panic attacks and anxiety often stem from food sensitivities, not from a metal health disorder, and can be healed by healing the digestive lining. The problem is that many of us are not taking into account that our over-all physical health is more often than not what is contributing to our emotional and mental health.


Many people are over-worked and working hours that are affecting their health more than they even understand. We can all be grateful for our night-shift workers, but there is emotional and health consequences that they will inevitably endure from working that shift. They are living the opposite of the natural state that the body is meant to be in. It affects their health so profoundly, as their sleep and eating habits are inconsistent. All of this affects the emotional state and starts to make a big difference in all areas of their lives.


Those who work demanding jobs often succumb to sleep medication that will actually create more symptoms. These medications are also very harsh on the stomach and make it even harder to wake up in the morning. Emotional outbursts of anger often follow from poor detoxification and stagnation of the free flow of energy through the body.


Many people that have experienced strong emotions are often given medications for medical disorders, when they very likely need some much-needed sleep for balance. Better sleep will then also balance our food cravings. Our body responds to rhythms and consistency, whichever way of health we choose will be the way that the pendulum will swing.


It is important to get consistent sleep to get a better night’s sleep. We benefit from going to bed at the same time every night and then wake up at the same time every morning. It is helpful to dim the lights in the evening and ideally to put blue blocker amber bulbs in the bedroom. The television, computer and electronic devices should be turned off at least an hour before bed. It is important for us to not eat at least three hours before bedtime, so our body is not trying to digest food, while it is working to repair.


Some tips for better sleep…


• Take an Epsom salt bath and add in a few drops of lavender essential oil


• A simple five-minute walk in nature during the day can reset our cortisol and stress levels.


• Drink a calming tea such as chamomile, lemon balm or lavender


• Add 24 drops of lavender essential oil to a 2oz spray bottle with purified water for a spray


• Add a couple of drops of lavender essential oil to a carrier oil, such as jojoba, and massage onto the back of the neck going into the front. Lavender is a must to have at all times. If not a fan of lavender, other calming oils, such as sandalwood or vetiver are very grounding.


•Some people benefit from blackout curtains that have streetlights and courtyard lights shining through the window, which disrupt sleep. It can also help those who need to sleep past sunrise, while others prefer to have the light filter through as a natural alarm clock to wake up.


•Some advise not to let the moonlight shine in the window, because the light will disrupt the sleep. This is debatable, because it is a different and natural light that the body understands.



Essential Oils


Humans are attracted to others through hormones and natural scents. Too much of even a natural scent will throw the natural attraction off. We can enhance our natural scent with essential oils, but the synthetic fragrances will throw our chemistry off.


To learn how to make natural products at home that can be in place of products made with synthetic fragrances please visit www.tinadematteo.com, where you will find The Foundations of Essential Oils, which teaches how to become an essential oil therapist.


There is 75 pages filled with information and safety and will teach how to use essential oils using a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnostic system for symptom relief and will also be taught how to make products at home. This is a complete class that teaches how to become an Essential Oil therapist and shares guidance on how to start a business if that is of interest.



In summary…


This can all seem overwhelming. Replacing everything can be extremely expensive. Every time a product needs to be replaced—a new natural product can take its place. Soon enough, the toxic load will be minimized.


There are going to be larger items that are not going to be an option to replace and the way to look at it is like a teeter-totter. How much of the load is leaning over to one side? We can do the best that we can in the moment. We certainly want to have balance in our life and teeter over to the non-chemical side as much as possible.


We are inundated with these chemicals together with all of the pesticides in our food and environmental chemicals. All of these toxins make it into the environment and into our waterways. They affect our marine life, our birds and other animals; they contribute to global warming, and make it back into our drinking water.


It is crucial to our health, the health of our wildlife and the health of our planet to do our small part that can most definitely make a difference.


Resources


Environmental Working Group: Knowing your environment. Protect your health. (2018). https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/518-EarthFriendlyProductsECOSLaundryDetergentLavender?formulation=518


Environmental Working Group: Knowing your environment. Protect your health. (2018). Laundry Detergent, General Purpose Cleaners. Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/guides/subcategories/47-LaundryDetergentGeneralPurpose?page=1


For essential oils, diffusers, loose herbs and other natural products.


Mountain Rose Herbs. Retrieved from https://www.mountainroseherbs.com



References


Brewer, J. H., Thrasher, J. D., & Hooper, D. (2013). Chronic illness associated with mold and mycotoxins: Is naso-sinus fungal biofilm the culprit?. Toxins6(1), 66–80. doi:10.3390/toxins6010066


DeNoon, D., (2010). WebMD. Dry cleaning chemical 'likely' causes cancer: National academy of sciences panel agrees with EPA analysis of the risks of PERC. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20100209/dry-cleaning-chemical-likely-causes-cancer#1


ECOS: Safer Choice Products. (2018). Retrieved from http://ecos.com/saferchoice/

Leverette, M., (2018). How to find environmentally friendly dry cleaning. the spruce. Retrieved from https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-green-dry-cleaning-2145936


Williamson, A. M., & Feyer, A. M. (2000). Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication. Occupational and environmental medicine57(10), 649–655. doi:10.1136/oem.57.10.649


National Institutes of Health: Turning Discovery Into Health. (2019). How disrupted sleep may lead to heart disease. Retrieved from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-disrupted-sleep-may-lead-heart-disease