Going Green

Green…used to be my last name, well different spelling I guess. But, living in Boulder County and having lived in Seattle for 4 years, let me tell you a little about going green. ūüôā It seems to be the new “hype,” it’s everywhere. Green laundry detergent, green boxes, green hair ties- you name it- its there. So what’s really the big deal? Does it actually have any impact on our health? Do I really need “green” tissues?

In our house when I was found to have celiacs disease I learned to read every label out there. When I first started with gluten free it wasn’t so much a buzz word and you really had to hunt for ingredients on every thing you bought. When I started reading labels I started noticing a lot of other things as well- chemicals, preservatives, food dyes, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Well this isn’t about eating organically or clean; however, this caused me to start questioning and looking at everything.

As I began thinking about how food impacts our health I started wondering how all of these other chemicals we are exposed to every day in our lives harmed us as well. According to one source we take in more than 2 million toxins each day. Food, plastic, air exposure, etc. The list never ends. I’m not saying that to make you want to run out and buy a hazmat suit and never breathe the air again. However, I encourage you to being questioning how you can limit your toxic exposure as well. Tide- something many of us have and continue to use in our laundry. Tide has been linked to cancer causing materials; however, P&G are working on reducing these chemicals. Same is true of Cascade, it was banned in certain states due to the phosphate levels; which are being addressed. These are just a few everyday items that we use all the time. Clorox, bleach, bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners, floor mops…all contributing to our every toxin overload. This is the reason I decided to switch.

Now in all fairness, I use Tide to clean our diapers. The surfactants in Tide actually get the poo off our diaps and clean bottoms are important to me; however, for the rest of our laundry I use a plant based detergent that is free and clear. However, for the most part I have found awesome replacements for almost everything we use- and at an ¬†affordable rate as well. My desire is to decrease the amount of toxins we have in the house, so that our everyday load is less than it used to be. One recommendation I have for those who want to “go green” is don’t go through your cupboards and throw everything away at one time. For frugal me- that makes no sense. Use what you have and when it’s time to replace it- find a healthy alternative. Over time you’ll begin to overhaul the way you clean, eat, and what you ingest in the air.

This is not a plug for certain companies, nor have I been paid by anyone; but if you are needing some good places to get started in finding cheaper alternatives for cleaners here are a few companies that I have been satisfied with and would recommend in the hunt. Seventh generation (found at Target- there always seems to be a coupon), Melaleuca (awesome Walmart prices- but you have to be a member, if you need a distributor message me.) Norwex, an amazing cleaning company with no monthly fee, Young Living Essential Oils (I clean with thieves- I am a distributor if you have any oil needs!) These are just the tip of the iceberg. When I started looking at all our toxins in our home, I got overwhelmed. These companies directed me in where I could start and they have the research to back them as well.

Don’t be overwhelmed, one thing at a time. Together we’ll reduce our toxin level and create a ¬†healthy environment for the next generation to thrive in (laughing at myself- I sound like a Boulder-hippie:) No, but seriously. Reducing the toxin load, reduces the stress on our bodies, making us less susceptible to disease, and creates a healthier environment in the process. Here’s to a healthier you!

Yes or No? Antibiotics?

Since we’ve been on the topic of sickness and medicine I thought I’d like to dig a little deeper. I hear conversations all the time about antibiotic use. Here is a conversation I overheard just a few weeks ago, (yes I was eavesdropping). “My two year old is resistant to penicillin so we have to give her a double dose, and penicillin doesn’t work on me anymore.” I almost stopped my eavesdropping- interrupted and said, “wait, what? Your TWO year old needs a double dose of antibiotics?”

I hope this hurts you to hear as much as me. Western medicine has created a nightmare situation. We have kiddos on whom one of the most common antibiotics no longer works- so what happens when a really really bad bug comes around and there is no longer anything that works. Something I saw in the hospital way too much is, “well we don’t really know what this bug is, so let’s just stick them on two or three antibiotics to be safe.” I really don’t know who is teaching medicine anymore, but last I checked we already have enough “superbugs” to not be creating more. You see, antibiotics are not for the common cold, flu, or any other bug that we don’t know where it came from. Antibiotics are wonderful! They have saved many lives, but they are way too overused. There seems to be a thought that as soon as we, or our loved ones get any sort of ailment, we need to run to the doctor as fast as we can and slap on some antibiotics. They aren’t band-aids. In fact what that is doing is allowing the virus or bacteria to mutate and become resistant to the very thing that is trying to kill it. Eventually we’ll run out of antibiotics.

Here is the caveat. I’m not against antibiotics. See your doctor, take care of yourself. But might I suggest that instead of running first thing for the antibiotic, we try a few other things. Tied in with our last topic- fevers- are not always bad. In fact fevers are designed to rid the body of the toxin that is making us sick. When God designed the immune system he gave us some pretty amazing defense systems, fevers are one of them. Now crazy high fevers (especially in kids) not good- but it’s because of the side effects those high temperatures can actually cause.

Back to antibiotic use, I’m sure you are all familiar with the terms MRSA or VRSA or at least have seen them in passing. They stand for Methacillin resistant staphylococcus aureus and Vancomycin resistant staphylococcus aureus. In layman’s terms these are common staph infections that are no longer responsive to two major antibiotics; vancomycin and methacillin (part of the penicillin family). This should scare a lot of us way more than it seems to. The fact that these infections are becoming so common and rampant proves our overuse of antibiotics.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I like antibiotics. I’ll say it again..I like antibiotics. However, I am against using them for thing like an ear infections, a stomach bug or virus, etc. Things that are annoying and not fun; however, there are many other treatments and uses for. So the next time your doctor suggests an antibiotic just be sure that it really is necessary and not just another, “this may or may not be helpful” case. I can name on one hand the amount of times I have been on antibiotics in my life- this should be the case across the board. We have to be our own advocates and not just allow doctors to continue something, just because it’s been like that forever. Being healthy sometimes requires us to stand up and ask the “why” question. I believe the “why” question could get us a long way towards taking our health back from the the bureaucracy of medicine¬†and taking ownership of our earthly existence.

Also as an aside- if you do happen to take antibiotics, make sure you are supplementing a good probiotic for a least a few weeks after the antibiotic is discontinued. Another yucky side effect to these drugs is that the kill the good bacteria in the gut leaving us vulnerable to other infections and bugs. Taking a good probiotic can help restore that healthy bacteria in time.

*This is in no ways supplementation for medical advice. If you have any of the symptoms above or are worried about your health please see a doctor.

Battling the Common Cold and Flu

A topic we hear a lot about at time of year,¬†is how to keep you and your families from getting sick. Since we spend so much time indoors, school is in session, and runny noses are everywhere it seems. There are so many things we can do to fight to stay healthy; however, sometimes our body just needs to build the immunity so we let the little bug run it’s course. In the days where everyone has hand sanitizer and cold medicine, are these really effective and should we be running to them at every waking moment? What about in kiddos? It’s miserable to see kids sick, but is it ok to be pumping them full of tylenol for fevers and cold medicine for a cold. First lets take a look at some basic things we should all be doing to stay healthy.

Of course we all know that exercise, sleep, and a healthy diet are vital in keeping our bodies in optimal shape to fight infections. An interesting article I was reading suggested that there are a few studies that suggest that diet deficiencies in mice led to changes in the immune system, same was true of mice not consuming a whole-food diet. (More on that later) (http://www.health.harvard.edu/flu-resource-center/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.htm) However, we are what we eat- therefore; if we aren’t getting the proper minerals and vitamins from our food we put our immune system- and therefore ourselves at risk for bacteria and viruses to attack. There really is no “magic pill” to keep you healthy- it’s a lifestyle. There are many things that we can and should do- however, since we are holistic we’ve got to keep the whole body in mind.

Back to our question about cold medicine and fever reducers. We need to specifically look at kiddos and young people as well. According the FDA no one under 5 years old should be able to take these things; but due to some pharmaceutical dollars some of the common cold and flu fighters say they are ok above 2 years. There are many studies questioning not only the efficacy of these drugs but also some serious side effects that can occur. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20001764) Just think about it; if you had a 2 year old liver- would you really want the processing center of the body to have to weed through the different drugs and chemicals found in that. The other question we need to be asking is- how have we survived for thousands of years. Our body can make two different kinds of immunity. Natural and artificial. Natural immunity is where we are exposed to a germ and then our body responds by making different cells to attack that specific virus. Artificial is where we are artificially exposed (think vaccine) and then our body makes cells to respond to that germ as well. Very simply put- natural immunity is lifetime immunity; artificial is not. While not convenient or fun it may be necessary for our bodies to be exposed to these germs and then build a defense for them for life. So instead of running to the next cold medicine or fever reducer think about a few natural things you can be doing to boost your immune response even more.

As mentioned above sleep, a good diet, exercise, decreasing stress, these are all important in maintaining a healthy immune system. But there are a lot of supplemental things we can be doing as well. In our house, I use the Thieves essential oil. It is a combination of cinnamon, lemon, clove, and eucalyptus radiata. This combination was developed during the Bubonic¬†plague in Europe. Four thieves were going through graves and didn’t get the disease. (http://www.secretofthieves.com/four-thieves-vinegar.cfm) When asked what they covered themselves in, this was the combination (It has been perfected since then.) I diffuse this when we get sick, or when someone around us is sick, I clean with it, I use it in my toothpaste, and I have even gargled it when battling a sore throat. We also bump up our supplements. I still take a whole food prenatal supplement (through nursing) and fish oil, and you should be taking a whole food supplement if you’re not. I also use echinacea and vitamin C to increase of immunity (but only when sick- not every day). As far as hand sanitizers go- I stay away from ones with Triclosan (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/08/29/triclosan-in-personal-care-products.aspx) This has been linked to some cancers and therefore I don’t use any products that have that in it including hand soap. I use either the thieves hand saniters or an alcohol based one, although I don’t like using the alcohol one on kiddos.

There is a lot of information here- and honestly it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I hope that you have found this helpful. I would love to hear what you do to keep your families well during this time of year!