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Registered Holistic Nutritionist
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It has been shown that the toxins in our food greatly increase our overall toxic burden to a point where they become a major contributing factor in human disease. In fact, some experts have equated our modern food supply with a slow poisoning.
Pesticide use has steadily increased in modern times. After World War II, chemical warfare companies switched over to agriculture and began using their chemicals as herbicides and pesticides on our crops.
Studies have shown long term exposure to these chemicals has resulted in infertility, birth defects, endocrine disruption, neurological disorders and cancer. Particularly worrisome, is the toxic effect on the reproductive systems of women wanting to get pregnant, pregnant women and on young children.
A major problem is that 80% of genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified organisms (GMO) crops are actually designed for use with these chemicals. They go hand-in-hand. Chemical companies own GE seed companies. An estimated 7.7 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops each year.
These chemicals are sold to us under the guise of increasing yields and lowering costs but research shows otherwise. Less toxic techniques such as IPM (integrated pest management), crop rotation and installing pest traps have shown an increase in crop yields and a decrease in pesticide use.
Consumer Report suggests that certain foods should always be organic. These include: peaches, strawberries, bell peppers, tangerines, cranberries, carrots, green beans, hot peppers, nectarines and sweet potatoes. Also, animals fed pesticide laden foods, will bio-accumulate these toxins so that foods that come from an animal should also be from pesticide free sources. For more on buying organic, please see tip on choosing organic foods.
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone. Every tissue in our bodies need vitamin D. It is needed for overall health including bone and muscle health, heart health, immunity, metabolism, brain development, cell communication, and more.
Studies have show that adequate vitamin D levels can cut our cancer risk by as much as 60%. Adequate vitamin D levels have also shown promise in the prevention and treatment of a number of disease conditions including: eye and bowel diseases, chronic inflammation diseases, immune dysfunction, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), chronic inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Studies have also shown vitamin D is helpful in reducing HIV replication and in alleviating symptoms of depression. Deficiency in pregnancy has been linked to childhood asthma, allergies, dental cavities, diabetes and more.
Here in the rainy Pacific North West, we don’t get enough vitamin D from sun exposure in the Fall through the Spring. But we’re not the only ones. Modern people the world over, even in equatorial regions are not getting enough vitamin D. Always being fully covered in clothes, spending the majority of our time indoors, skin cancer fears and sunscreen use, all play in to our collective vitamin D deficiency.
We can get vitamin D from a number of sources including safe,sensible sun exposure, vitamin D3 supplementation, and animal foods such as fatty fish like salmon and tuna, fish liver oil and eggs. Some health experts even recommend using safe, UVB tanning beds (with electronic ballast). We should try to reach a daily vitamin D dose, from all sources combined of between 5000-6000 IU.
When exposing our skin to the sun, we never want to overdue it and we never want to burn. It is interesting however, that our ancestors, although spending most of their time out of doors in the sun, were not all suffering from melanoma. In fact, it seems the more time we spend indoors, the higher the levels of cancer rise. Clearly something other than exposure to the sun has changed to create the levels of skin cancer we are seeing today.
When supplementing with vitamin D, we should also balance the supplementation with vitamin K2 and magnesium. Symptoms of vitamin D overdose are the very same as symptoms of vitamin K2 deficiency as the two work together. Vitamin K2 moves calcium where it needs to go (bones and teeth)and removes it from where it is not needed (arteries and soft tissue).
Without testing, it is impossible to know what our total vitamin D levels from all of these sources are . We can ask our doctors to test our vitamin D levels with a 25(OH)D (25-hydroxyvitaminD) test.
If you depend on coffee to get you going in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me-up, you could be suffering from adrenal dysregulation. Caffeine too late in the afternoon can disturb sleep which affects brain health, weight management and our body’s detox and repair. Coffee is also a diuretic and can be dehydrating, especially if you drink coffee instead of drinking water. Caffeine can also raise stress hormone levels like cortisol which make us store fat (particularly in our mid section). Caffeine can also interfere with thyroid medication if taken at the same time.
On the other hand, …recent studies have found that caffeine containing beverage such as tea and coffee have certain health promoting benefits. Coffee is North Americans #1 source of antioxidants. This isn’t because coffee is the most highly antioxidant food, but because of the sheer amount of coffee we drink. Some of the health benefits found include: reduced stroke risk, lower rates of heart disease, lowered risk of type 2 diabetes, lower risk of heart rhythm problems, increased blood flow to blood vessels, lower risk of premature death, lower risk of Parkinson disease, lower risk of heart disease.
Some experts even tell us caffeine’s effects on the body are not the same for everyone. We all have the gene CYP1A2 which helps break down toxins. This gene comes in two types, 1A and 1F. If we have the 1A version of the gene, coffee reduces our risk of heart attack. But if we have the 1F version, coffee increases our risk of heart attack.
To receive the benefits from drinking coffee and to minimize the negative side affects experts warn to choose our coffee wisely.
In order to receive health benefits from coffee the quality of the coffee must be considered. According to Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Coffee, most studies which show that coffee is unhealthy, do not control for the production process behind the coffee. Different processing methods introduce radically different amounts of potent toxins into the coffee.
Asprey asserts, good coffee = good performance. Bad coffee = bad health.
“Clean” coffee needs to have minimal contamination from mycotoxins (mold toxins). Coffee is also one of the most heavily sprayed crops. Most conventional coffee is contaminated with pesticides. Ground coffee is also prone to rancidity. Adding dairy to our coffee can interfere with some of the beneficial effects. Sugar in our coffee only adds to the likelihood of developing insulin resistance. White, chlorine bleached coffee filters can leach into our coffee.
Some attributes of a good quality coffee are that it is: tested for mycotoxins, organic, fair-trade, freshly ground (not pre-ground), and dark roast.
Besides the quality of the coffee, Asprey goes on to say:
High amounts of caffeine can cause problems such as decreased insulin sensitivity, impaired brain function, jitters, nervousness, stomach discomfort, and decreased exercise performance. As with any drug, you can overdose. Moderate amounts of coffee will do nothing but good for most people.
Experts suggest limiting our coffee intake to 1 or 2 cups in the morning and switching to green tea in the afternoon. Coffee should be strictly avoided for pregnant women. As with coffee, the quality of green tea that we choose should be carefully considered. Many green teas from China are contaminated with lead. Japanese green tea is a better choice. Tea also readily absorbs fluoride from the soil it is grown in which can be a problem for those with thyroid dysregulation.
And as mentioned before, when we need that morning cup of coffee to get us going, we may be dealing with much bigger issues. Limiting coffee, restoring our adrenals and getting our hormones in balance should be the first line of business.
Loving yourself. I’ve been thinking about this post for weeks. Unlike the other posts that are based on intellectual material from books and studies, this post is from the heart. When I write “love yourself”, I don’t mean narcissism. For in fact, narcissists, people who have to put others down, control others or be cruel to others, are the people who have the least amount of self love. When I write about loving yourself, I mean having an appreciation for the unique soul that you are. I mean, understanding that, even though you’re not “perfect”, you are perfectly lovable, just the way you are. You’re okay to be 100% you! No one is you and that is your power. That’s why you’re here. That’s who you’re meant to be. You don’t have to earn anyone’s love. Love comes from you and others just reflect it back to you like mirrors. Do not search for love from the outside. Do what makes you happy. By doing what we love, we inspire and awaken the hearts of others. Do what makes your heart sing and the right people will appreciate you. That’s how you find love! Not with some false persona on a dating site that makes you seem “better” than you are. Be you and the right people will find you. Not everyone will love you. You’re not for everybody. You’re only for the right people.
It is your social responsibility to love yourself. When we love ourselves an interesting thing happens; we treat others better too. Self love is the beginning of love in the family, which is the beginning of love in the community, which is the beginning of love in the world.
Many artificial colors, artificial flavors and food preservatives commonly found in processed foods have been linked to various forms of cancer, asthma, allergic type reactions, behavioral changes, lowered IQ, hyperactivity and more.
The more additives we avoid the better. Here is a list of just some of the additives to try to avoid: