How Toxic Is Your Home?

When we are at home the last thing we think about is toxins, we are in our safe environment, or so it seems but we are increasingly becoming aware of the potential dangers lurking in our home and quite rightly we are now questioning them and unfortunately finding out more than what we bargained for.

The Living Room and Bedroom:

Let’s start with the 1970s when flame retardants were added to foams, plastics, furniture, carpets, building insulation and children’s car seats. Most flame retardants escape from the products into dust and the air we breathe. When dust contaminated with flame retardants gets on the hands, you can easily end up ingesting the dust in your mouth and also through your skin. Scientists have found exposure to flame retardants can affect the nervous and reproductive system and some flame retardants like PBDEs may be linked to neurodevelopmental problems, including impaired cognition and ADHD, particularly if exposure occurs at a very young age. In Europe the use and export of brominated flame retardants have been banned or severely restricted but PBDEs are still used in plastic manufacturing in China.

To minimise and limit your risk of exposure try to keep dust levels down by wet-mopping, and vacuuming with a HEPA filter and wash your hands before eating and avoid buying furniture filled with polyurethane foam.

The Kitchen:

In most homes the kitchen tends to be a minefield, do you ever use the self-cleaning feature on the oven?  Many people assume that the self-cleaning feature does not involve chemicals so it’s a safe choice. Self-cleaning ovens work by heating the oven to insanely hot temperatures and the problem is that the walls of many self-cleaning ovens are coated with Teflon that actually begin to break down at high temperatures, releasing toxic chemicals into the air. Inhaling these fumes may lead to polymer fume fever, so get your rubber gloves on and get some hot soapy water and use elbow grease to clean your oven, and avoid the self-cleaning oven feature like the plague.

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Talking of Teflon, have you checked your Teflon pans lately and seen scratches on them? if so time to say goodbye to them, many people are still using non-stick pans even after they have become damaged and begin to flake off.  The chemical Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which was used in non-stick Teflon pans up until 2015 and has been linked to many diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, liver tumours, and reduced fertility. This chemical was found to build up in people’s bodies so if you are using your frying pans daily you will be at a higher risk.

Ceramic coated pans are one of the best replacements to Teflon as they are free of toxins. Always choose a brand that clearly states it’s toxic-free and environmentally friendly.

Do you dry your clothes in a dryer that resides in your kitchen?  Every time you put a load of washing on or dry the clothes inside the machine it gives out volatile organic compounds, which include Benzene and Acetaldehyde, carcinogenic substances which are not something you want to breathe in regularly, so if you live in an apartment and cannot dry your clothes outside just open those windows whenever you use your appliances.

The Bathroom:

Some bathrooms tend to be a damp haven which is a breeding ground for bacteria and harmful organic matter, mold can build up on tiles, on the walls and even on shower curtains and is usually caused by lack of air ventilation, so make sure you have a fan built in to your bathroom or open the windows when you shower or bath to avoid this build-up as the spores from mold can cause toxic disturbances and illnesses over a long period of time.  Throw away old shower curtains, re-masticate the tiles and keep mold away by using white vinegar.

Most cleaning products you also use in the bathroom and kitchen are filled with hazardous chemicals which you ultimately inhale when spraying them onto the surfaces, thankfully there are many less harsh cleaning alternatives on the market nowadays and I find my favourite natural solution is white vinegar, it is a great and safe substitute for cleaning anything but especially great for taps, shower screens, mirrors, and mold too. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar try adding some lemon oil.

(Never use chlorine bleach on mold which is often used to clean all manner of surfaces, not only does it produce fumes that pollute the air it also generates a by-product called dioxin, which is linked to cancer. Used over time, bleach builds up these pollutants in the environment, the last thing you want to do is create more toxic chemicals in your home, mold is toxic enough.

The World Health Organisation has pinpointed environmental pollution as a serious contributing factor to diseases and there have even been calls for a ‘Healthy Home Mark’ to be brought in that could be as important as energy efficiency when it comes to people’s decision to buy a home say Envirovent. 

As to how bad your house is, there are a number of tests and outside agencies that can come in to assess the quality of your air especially if you suffer from respiratory or asthma symptoms, it might be worth checking out whether the toxins in your home are to blame.

 

 

 

 

 

How To Improve Your Digestion And Lose Weight Fast

I have never been a fan of fad diets, I have never actually had a weight problem and I wasn’t meaning to lose weight but I did by doing just this one thing.

So how did I lose weight and why did I lose weight?

I was struggling with a digestive issue, lots of heartburn and indigestion for months and I couldn’t get rid of it, I was sick of it, the doctors were giving me acid blockers which are so bad for the body and the more I read about them the more I was determined to stop them but what nobody told me is that they are really hard to ween off, as the symptoms just get worse.

By blocking my stomach acid, I increased my chances of vitamin deficiency and indigestion and catching parasitic bugs. I was desperate to stop taking them so I researched and read about the problems associated with undigested build-up of carbohydrates which sounded like my symptoms.

We all eat way too many carbohydrates in our diet, if you think of the average western family we mostly eat cereal or toast for breakfast, then eat a sandwich for lunch and dinner will most probably include pasta, rice or potatoes,  our carb ratio is way too high and I was guilty of being a huge carbohydrate muncher, I loved potatoes and pasta.

I gave up the simple carbs such as rice, potatoes, and bread for three weeks and noticed my weight drop from a size 10 to a size 8 really quickly,  I have loads of energy and my digestive issue is much better, all this just by cutting out simple carbohydrates and it wasn’t difficult at all.

I swapped rice for ‘caulirice’ which is delicious and I ate great big breakfasts with everything except the bread so an example would be a poached egg, haloumi, avocado, mushrooms and beans, samphire or spinach. If I didn’t have time for a big breakfast I would eat a natural bio yogurt made from sheep or goats yogurt and add a banana, kiwi or fresh figs and more nuts and seeds, also gluten-free porridge seemed to be fine.

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For lunch I would do a huge salad with organic chicken and lots of nuts and seeds and roast sweet potato and feta, lots of greens and broccoli rice, and I ate a few chickpea crackers along with it if I craved crunchy snacks which I do. I ate very little in the evening such as a soup or a smoothie as its easier for your digestion and I didn’t snack in between meals I would drink a glass of water if I felt hungry.

It’s better to leave 4 hours gap between dinner and bedtime so your body can heal and rest during the digestive process, this will improve your sleep too so your body isn’t busy and just focuses on rest instead. It wasn’t a strict diet and I didn’t feel like I was starving myself at all, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything, it was a little inconvenient if I was out sometimes as I would have to think and plan a bit more but most places cater for gluten and keto diets nowadays so it wasn’t too difficult.

So if you want to lose weight the healthy way just decrease the carbs and make it a smaller ratio of your diet, carbs contain a lot of sugar too so its really not great to bombard your system with glucose, so you will be helping your body out in more ways than one, and you will notice the difference just within a few weeks.  I also improved my digestion by taking a betaine HCL tablet before big meals and took digestive enzymes after meals and this cured my indigestion.

I haven’t been back to my doctor for months and when I next do feel the need, I will turn to food and nutrition first as what we eat holds the key to the whole functioning of our bodies. But always check with your doctor or a healthcare professional first if your symptoms persist.

 

 

 

 

 

Could Forest Bathing Make You Live Longer?

The forest isn’t the first place you think of when planning to go bathing, but its all the craze in Japan and has been since the 1980s. In Japan, its called “Shinrin-yoku” which means immersed in nature and it has become a vital healing medicine in Japan.

Many health experts have been claiming that forest bathing is the most important thing you could do for your health. According to national figures, in the UK we are a stressed-out nation, 74% of UK adults are overwhelmed by stress at some point in their lives making it one of the biggest health problems we face today.

There have been many scientific studies that demonstrate the healing effects of simply being in nature that can help us live longer and healthier lives.

So how does something so simple as a walk in the forest give you ultimate health benefits?

It’s proven to:

  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve your mood
  • Increased ability to focus,
  • Accelerated recovery from illness
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved sleep

 

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It seems the effect of just switching off from your everyday problems and thoughts to spend some time in nature has a positive healing effect physically and mentally.  We live in such an unnatural environment, constantly connected to our phones which distracts us from what is important in life. Just listening to the sounds of the forest is the best meditation.

I tried it this weekend and went to the forest with my dog, we just walked slowly and peacefully connecting with nature, I noticed the trees, the branches, the simple things became magical,  I felt a sense of calm which lasted for days, I am usually affected by high cortisol levels and anxiety and this all disappeared, I could think more clearly and my problems felt so insignificant, I didn’t want to come out of the forest that day.

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The best methods for forest bathing.

  • Turn your phone off,  the idea is to escape such intrusions that enter your life
  • Even if you are in the company it’s better to be quiet and listen to nature not the sounds of your friends talking even if the conversation is great.
  • Don’t use this time to think about your problems which would make this a useless exercise.
  • Be mindful, take in the sounds of nature, the birds, the leaves blowing in the wind, smell the earth, feel the ground under your feet.

 

If you live near a natural park, the countryside, or a forest, make time to try forest bathing and feel the healing power of nature. The more you do it the more benefits you will feel from this free and mindful practice and you will keep wanting to go back for more. Natural healing is definitely the best medicine for me.

 

 

 

A Hormone Balancing Smoothie

Are you troubled by hormonal problems, perhaps you have an estrogen dominant condition such as fibroids or endometriosis? Hormones control nearly every aspect of how we feel and could be behind a whole range of symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, headaches, depression, and digestive issues.

My top 5 smoothie ingredients for happy hormones include fibre, healthy fats and lots of antioxidants. 

Avocado – A healthy fat which helps to reduce the absorption of estrogen so if you are estrogen dominant this would be a good option. It’s also rich in Vitamin B6 which supports healthy metabolism and nervous system. Avocado can also lower stress hormones in the body and improve serotonin levels needed for a healthy mood

Broccoli – Contains natural compounds such as glucosinolates and sulforaphane, which helps reduce the risk of estrogen-linked cancers and eliminates excess hormones from the body that can disrupt our cycle. Kale is also great for balancing your adrenal glands, which help regulate the hormones necessary for fertility, mood stability, and energy levels, it is also rich in iron and contains sulfur which detoxes the liver.

Flaxseeds – Rich in antioxidants and compounds called lignans which have been shown to help regulate estrogen levels. Chia, Pumpkin or Hemp seeds would also work well for hormone balance.  Hemp is an excellent source of protein if you are a vegetarian and supplies the body with all 3 omegas.

Blueberries or Kiwi – Too much fruit in your smoothie can cause high sugar spikes which would create an imbalance of blood sugar levels so its best to only add a small addition of fruit to your smoothie, kiwi is abundant with vitamin C and blueberries have high antioxidant activity so either a small handful of blueberries or a kiwi is enough fruit for your smoothie.

Maca –  originally from Peru this superfood enhances energy, vitality and is proven to support hormone balance and improve fertility chances, it also tastes great so is a goodie for your hormone balancing smoothie.

Mix all your chosen ingredients with your favourite plant-based milk, dairy from cows is full of hormone disruptors so avoid cows milk, I love Rude Health almond milk or coconut milk, coconut is rich in amino acids, healthy fats, minerals, and B vitamins which would be beneficial to your hormones and almonds are a source of vitamin E, copper and magnesium which is vital for a healthy endocrine system.

Berry Nice Hormones Smoothie

  • 1 hand full of Blueberries
  • Half Avocado 
  • 1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Maca Powder
  • 4 Broccoli Florets
  • A glass of Coconut Milk

 

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Then drink at room temperature, Ayurvedic practitioners believe that icy drinks can interfere with your digestive fire and cause dampness in the body so it’s always better for your system to drink your beverage at room temperature to avoid causing strain on your kidneys and liver.

 

 

 

Healing Heartburn

Heartburn affects more than 60 million Americans every month, its not actually anything to do with your heart though, its a burning sensation in the chest caused by stomach acid which travels up towards the throat and it has the ability to show up when you least want it to, usually while you are at a nice restaurant and have just taken your first bite of delicious food and a sip of red wine, a burning feeling arises in your chest, you start to turn down the wine and request water instead and you wonder how you are going to get through the meal without embarrassingly having to leave the table and your friends or hot date to find a pharmacy so late at night. Does this ring a bell?

One pop of an antacid, such as Tums or Rennie and it usually gives instant relief so what’s the problem? the problem being, what happens when it doesn’t go away after a Rennie or two?

I had a recent heartburn flare up which lasted for 4 weeks and I was terrified, I thought I would have the symptoms forever. I realised how complex the condition was when I researched it online, the symptoms were similar if you had too much stomach acid to if you didn’t have enough, so how does one know?  It’s more common to not have enough stomach acid than too much, but western medicine seems to focus on getting rid of the symptoms with a quick fix rather than looking into it too deeply. I made appointments to see 3 different doctors over the four weeks who all prescribed me PPI’s (Proton-pump inhibitors) a group of drugs whose main action is to reduce stomach acid production. One doctor said I had gastritis due to Ibuprofen use and one told me I had a hiatal hernia and one said I had acid reflux caused by anxiety. Not one doctor gave me any nutritional advice, considering it was a digestive condition I found this quite strange and surely blocking all my acid production isn’t going to be a great idea in the long run?.

I was mortified when I researched the side effects of the PPI drugs, if taken long term they could cause Kidney Disease and Osteoporosis and other awful conditions! I had already started taking the drugs as I had such extreme discomfort in my chest, upper stomach, hoarseness, sore throat, neck pain, and earache and flu on top of it all, so I was pretty low. I looked into ways to reduce my symptoms and heal my condition through food and ayurvedic medicine while gradually weaning myself off of the PPI.

It took me three weeks before I saw a significant difference. I firstly avoided all trigger foods such as chili, spicy foods, alcohol, chocolate, coffee, tomatoes and citrus fruits and I stuck to a diet that was easy to digest, ensuring that I chewed my food many times so that my digestive system which was already under strain didn’t have to work harder than it needed to.

Here are some of the foods that I tried that worked well for me and eased my symptoms and put me back on the road to good health.

  • Almond Milk – Coat your stomach and esophagus lining with a protective layer to stop the acid damaging your stomach wall, I found almond milk and a little ghee butter very comforting before I went to bed, I also added caprylic acid which can kill any bad bacteria in your gut.
  • Fennel – I roasted some fennel seeds which I snacked on in between meals and it did ease my discomfort, I also juiced fennel, cucumber, and celery which cooled the inflammation.
  • Pomegranate juice – I started taking this as my symptoms were starting to improve, it balances PH levels and neutralises any excess acid. I juiced fresh pomegranates which felt more nutritious than buying it from concentrate in a supermarket.
  • Papaya – Full of great digestive enzymes and anti-bacterial properties, felt very soothing to my digestive tract.
  • H-Pylori – Acid reflux symptoms could be caused by a common bacteria called H-Pylori so I would recommend eliminating these bacteria, ask your doctor for a stool test.
  • Ginger – fresh ginger tea with manuka honey soothes the esophagus and also kills any bad bacteria in your tummy. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and has been used for digestive health for hundreds of years so it’s a safe bet.
  • Parsley – I boiled a handful of parsley in a saucepan, strained it and then sipped on the water throughout the day, I noticed vast improvements but it tasted really bad. Parsley is known for its super healing powers on the intestines.
  • Bananas- The texture just felt like the right thing to eat, it coated my throat in a protective layer and staved off any hunger pains, I don’t think bananas work for everyone, but they definitely worked for me. 
  • Chicken – I kept my food quite simple, chicken in chicken broth soup really felt nourishing and bone broth is one of the best foods to eat with any inflammatory condition, its healing and contains collagen vital for healing and repairing the gut.
  • Pro-Biotic – I made sure when I became hungry that I would eat some yogurt as it was easy to digest and hunger would bring on symptoms so I wanted to avoid hunger pains. I chose a sheep yogurt containing bio-cultures as sheep’s milk is 10% lower in lactose than cow’s milk.
  • Basil Leaves- I placed basil beside my bed as when the acid reflux flared up in the night, I would take a few basil leaves and chew on them, I was quite amazed at how effective it was and it helped ease the pain pronto. Basil helps reduce excess acid production. Tulsi Tea was also great which is made from Holy Basil leaves.
  • Aloe Vera Juice – Healing to the intestinal tract and digestion, normalizes ph balance in the gut and encourages good digestive bacteria.
  • Melatonin – Tests show that melatonin improves GERD symptoms such as heartburn (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) by decreasing esophageal acid exposure. This really helped me as my symptoms were often worse at night when I was lying down and so it helped me to sleep through the night. 

Avoid These Habits:

  • When taking pain killers or supplements, make sure you take them with lots of water and maybe even eat a small piece of bread with it to ensure it’s gone into your stomach properly. If it’s exposed for too long in your esophagus it can irritate the lining and create damage to the tissues and cells.
  • Avoid NSAIDS such as ibuprofen if you regularly take pain killers for a condition, they are irritating to the stomach and can cause irreversible damage.

It’s always good to get the advice from your health practitioner if you suffer from heartburn, but its also good to know that we can heal our bodies naturally to give it gentle support rather than harsh treatments, which often only cause more problems further down the line.

Ramp Up Your Own Internal Collagen Production

Collagen is a protein fibre naturally found in our body and a major component of connective tissue. As we naturally age our body’s production of collagen declines even from as early as 21 our collagen production starts decreasing which causes our skin to have less tone creating more visible facial lines and loose skin.

Collagen is essential not just for our skin health but also for our bones, ligaments, tendons and muscle strength. Therefore if you want to maintain your collagen health and stay looking younger and feeling more agile its important to make sure that you are getting the vital nutrients to keep your body producing enough.

Camu Camu

Studies show that the Camu berry provides 30-60 times more natural vitamin C than an orange or lemon, and vitamin C plays a crucial role in the formation of collagen and cell renewal. 

Cinnamon 

Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde which is the organic compound that gives cinnamon its flavor and colour which increases collagen levels. Cinnamon is said to improve fine lines by plumping the skin and stimulating blood vessels to bring a healthy glow to the surface of the skin.

Acai Berry 

Acai berries are also high in vitamin c which is a powerful antioxidant in supporting and maintaining our natural production of collagen and fights cell-damaging free radicals. Acai berries also contain copper which activates an enzyme called lysyl oxidase. This cross-links collagen fibres with other supportive fibres and helps to form the scaffold that supports your tissues keeping your bones, heart and blood vessels healthy. 

Barley Grass, Barley grass can stimulate the regeneration of cells with the help of B vitamins, iron, and chlorophyll. It also contains phycocyanin, a blue pigment that supports the creation of white and red blood cells and when these cells are rejuvenated it helps to keep your skin looking more youthful. This ingredient also has Quercetin, a flavonoid and anti-inflammatory agent that helps to maintain your skin’s elasticity thereby improving your skin’s overall texture and appearance. 

Renew

At We+People the ‘Renew’ supplements are specially formulated for skin and collagen health and this powerhouse of skin-friendly nutrients from Acai, Cinnamon, Camu Camu, and Barley Grass, means you will be arming your skin with plenty of natural defenses against ageing. 

Renew Supplements – We+People.