Toxins 101

Toxic things are all around us. Anyone who says you can live a life free of toxins or chemicals is a liar. Toxins have existed since the beginning of time and their presence has significantly increased as we (humans) have created more and more “things.” According to Merriam-Webster a toxin is: “a poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism…” aka something created by a living creature that is poisonous or toxic to other living creatures. Think snake venom, poisonous plants, etc. A toxin is a substance that is naturally produced by living organisms – sometimes referred to as biotoxins. Huh? Not what you thought?

Sometimes you might hear someone talk about toxicants. And you may think, who is this person trying to be all fancy? What they are talking about are toxic substances that are man-made, synthetic, or result from human activity. Toxicants are also referred to as environmental toxins. Now it’s all coming together!

Ok are you following? Let’s review –

Toxins = naturally created poisons = bad

Toxicants = man-made, synthetic substances that are toxic = bad

Wait….what does toxic mean? Again, thanks Merrian-Webster: “containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation.”

“extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful” (cough, cough – does this sound like any people in your life?)

During the time humans have been on the planet, we have drastically increased the number of synthetic chemicals in existence. I’m not saying this is necessarily a 100% bad thing, but when you consider that there are now 200-300 chemicals found in the umbilical cord of newborns, you have to stop and think if our bodies are meant to or able to successfully interact with these chemicals without harmful effects. As Paracelsus, the father of toxicology says, “the dose makes the poison.” One drop of one chemical could be lethal, whereas 200 of another may just give you a headache. It all depends…on a lot of factors. That’s why it’s important to know what you are surrounding yourself with!

Read labels, use more natural products, and stay tuned for more more ways to be able to say………..See you later toxins!

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Dalai Lama Wisdom

“It is often difficult to judge how our actions and their impact on the environment are likely to affect others. What is clear is that we are the only species with the power to destroy the earth. Birds and insects have no such power, nor does any other mammal. And yet if we have the capacity to destroy the earth, we also have the capacity to protect it. I believe we have an urgent responsibility to do so.”

– Dalai Lama

The Top 3 Things the Average American Needs to Know

There have been several recent news reports about how little the American people know about things going on around them, like world events, science, and political issues. Quiz yourself and see how you compare:

  • Do antibiotics treat viruses?

  • Is there DNA in our food and should it be labeled?

    • Ummmm…yes there’s DNA in our food! There is DNA in every living organism! Why the hell would we need our food to be labeled if it contains DNA?? Well, 80% of those polled in a recent Food Demand survey would like to know which food products contain DNA!

  • Scientists and the public also seem to differ widely on their opinions about issues such as whether the growing world population will strain our natural resources (scientists: 82%, U.S. Adults: 59%), humans have evolved over time (scientists: 98%, U.S. Adults: 65%), and favoring offshore drilling (scientists: 32%, U.S. Adults: 52%). (Info from the PEW Research Center)

Taking a look at these statistics, it isn’t hard to believe or understand why, even when powerful figures who are highly respected make statements on critical world issues, the public still refuses to listen. If you’ve been living under a rock, here’s what you’ve been missing:

  • “No challenge – no challenge – poses greater threat to future generations than climate change….The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.” – President Barack Obama in his 2015 State of the Union Address

  • 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history. – Based on data released by the Japan Meteorological Association (review the data yourself).

  • “…in great part, it is man who has slapped nature in the face. We have in a sense taken over nature.” Climate change will “affect all of humanity, especially the poorest and future generations. What’s more, it represents a serious ethical and moral responsibility.” – Pope Francis, the current leader of the Catholic Church

Does that cause a little red flag to raise in your head? Sometimes people only hear what they want to hear – what they care about – what immediately impacts them – what they believe. But most of the time it’s important to expand your world view…even if it’s just an inch. I know it takes a lot of effort to learn new things and to keep up with current events, especially if you are working two jobs, have a family, or just don’t care. That’s why I’m throwing you a bone! Here are the top 3 facts you NEED to know about what is really going on in the world around you:

  1. Average global temperatures have increased by 1 degree Fahrenheit during the 20th century. Who cares you ask, 1 degree is nothing – I can’t tell the difference between 79 degrees and 80! According to the NASA website the earth was 5-9 degrees colder than it is today during the last ice age “when the Northeast United States was covered by more than 3,000 feet of ice.” No big deal. Check out this study done by MIT that estimates “with every 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature…tropical regions will see 10 percent heavier rainfall extremes, with possible impacts for flooding in populous regions.”

  2. Two hundred and eighty seven “industrial chemicals and pollutants” were found in umbilical cord blood from American babies, in a study conducted in 2005. This of course means that these chemicals are coursing through the mother’s body and being passed onto children in utero. By industrial chemicals they mean: pesticides, mercury, and other harmful chemicals – 180 of which “cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.”

  3. Medical debt is the #1 reason Americans file personal bankruptcy. This is a government and big business issue, but also a personal issue. We are all responsible for our own personal health and well being, which can reduce our use of and reliance on the healthcare system. “U.S. adults are likelier than those in other countries to struggle to pay their medical bills or to forgo care because of cost.” Check out these links for more information about the healthcare system and debt.

***Disclaimer: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Do you own research. Educate yourself. Form your own opinion.

Five Easy Ways to Start off the New Year a Little Greener

Happy New Year!

A new year always brings excitement and hope, quickly followed by a sense of feeling overwhelmed by all the things you resolved to change, start, or do more of. So the last thing I want to do is add more to your list! Hopefully one of your resolutions this year is to be a little “greener” in your everyday life, but even if it’s not, here are 5 quick and easy things you can do that will make an impact!

1. Recycle your Christmas Tree.

If you are anything like me, you enjoy keeping your Christmas tree and decorations up a little after the holidays end to enjoy the happiness that they bring. Or, if you are even more like me, you keep putting off taking all the decorations down until it’s the end of January! If this sounds like you, don’t worry, there is still plenty of time to find a place to recycle your Christmas tree. Checkout this website to find a place close to you.

2. Give Away, Give Back.

It’s likely you bought or were gifted new clothes or housewares during the holidays. Instead of throwing away that old toaster or that older pink sweater that was recently replaced, think about donating! Plan a clothing swap with your close friends – everyone brings items they want to get rid of or no longer fit. Throw in a bottle of wine just for fun! 🙂 Take the items that no one picks to Goodwill to give back to community while also lightening your load.

3. Go Vegetarian Once a Week.

So much bang for your buck with this one! Reducing your meat intake and increasing your plant based food intake is good for your health and the environment! A diet with too much meat can contribute to health issues and if you’ve forgotten how I feel about plant based eating, re-read this post. According to Scientific American, a report from 2006 showed that “our diets and, specifically, the meat in them cause more greenhouse gases…than either transportation or industry.” If you’re feeling spunky, try one meal a day without meat.

4. Replace your Light Bulbs.

Go ahead and take the plunge if you haven’t already! Replace all the regular light bulbs in your home with compact florescent bulbs (CFLs). You won’t notice much of a difference until the Fall or this time next year, since that’s the first time you will have to replace them! CFLs last 10-25 times longer than regular bulbs and require 70-90% less energy to run over their lifetime, meaning you’ll also notice a difference in your electric bills. You’re welcome. 🙂

5. Take 20 Minutes to Watch “The Story of Stuff.

This is a short video that points out how our consumerism and consumption patterns are connected to current environmental issues. After you’ve watched it, share it with your friends or on social media! Help spread the word and educate others!

Green Can be Glamorous

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Photo By: JessF26

I was at a great local vegetarian restaurant in town last weekend, looking stylish while I ate my delicious veggie burger – the one and only veggie burger I’ve ever liked! I was alone, people watching and realized that a lot of the women in the restaurant looked like your stereotypical “hippie mom.” Wild untamed hair, baggy and plain clothes, minimal if no makeup and it hit me – you don’t have to look like a vegetarian to be a vegetarian, you don’t have to look like a farmer to have your own garden and grow your own food, and you don’t have to look basic and recycled to live in an environmentally friendly way!

Green can be glamorous!

So I’ve decided that this will be a reoccurring destination on my blog – a place to revisit often and discover new products and information to incorporate into your daily lives to be environmentally friendly and keep your quality of life! 🙂

Let’s start today with someone that epitomizes this idea: Miranda Kerr. You know, Miranda Kerr, the supermodel. The Victoria’s Secret Angel. Google her. If that’s not a perfect picture of glamorous, I don’t know what is!

In 2009, Miranda created Kora Organics, her own line of organic skin care products. Not satisfied with any of the organic skin care lines on the market back then, she decided to start her own using ingredients that she had raised around in rural Australia. She understands the impact of what we put on our skin can have not only on our beauty, but our body and health. According to the Kora website:

“Did you know that the average woman applies more than 200 chemicals to her skin by using her skin care products in one day? Did you know that 60% of these chemicals are further absorbed into your bloodstream? These are two of the main reasons that organic skincare is one of the fastest growing areas of the beauty industry today. The more we learn about the bitter side effects of unhealthy skincare, the more quickly we will seek out other options.”

The ingredients in her products include many natural essential oils, Noni fruit (a powerful antioxidant and one of the key “secret” ingredients), aloe vera, and water that is infused with the energy of Rose Quartz. Not something you would expect from a Victoria’s Secret Angel huh? Throw those stereotypes out the window! Green can beautiful. Green can be smart. Green can be glamorous!!

I think this may be my first purchase:

luxurious-rosehip-oil_1Luxurious Rosehip Oil

Where do I Recycle This?

This is a great website to locate recycling centers in your area – even for the things that you’re not sure how to recycle!

Where do I recycle this?

How many times have you thrown away batteries because you weren’t sure what to do with them? I hate to admit it, but I have done this too many times. What about Christmas trees? We still have ours laying in the backyard!

Use this website if you are new to a city or if you are trying to get started on better habits! Recycling is an easy place to start!

Essential Oils are Taking Over!

Essential oils are taking over – my life at least! Oh and not to mention my office and my home. And to be specific only doTERRA essential oils (the best out there)!

You are what you eat and I firmly believe that eating a natural, plant-based diet can change your quality of life significantly (for the better). As the quote in my last post suggests, what you eat can alleviate a lot of health issues and support your body in healing itself. But, the truth is, there are time when we need medicine or additional treatment other than food, right?! If you have a broken arm, I’m not going to tell you to eat some kale and it will be healed! Diet accounts for about 80% of your health, the other 20% requires a little something extra.

Now let me tell you a little bit about the options within that 20%. America is #1 in trauma care. That means when you are in an accident, you are in the right place and will be taken care of wonderfully! America is also #52 in health and sick care – not so great. As most of us know, we do not live in a preventive health care world, we live in a world where you do what you want and then get medicine to counteract the consequences of those choices, and then have side effects and get more meds to suppress those effects! Tiring. There are many ways to be more proactive and preventative – eating right, exercising, stress management, and others, but today I want to focus on essential oils. Essential oils – what in the world?! Listen up!

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years and plants have been used since the beginning of time to heal. Essential oils are derived from plants – and doTERRA essential oils are the most pure, safe, and natural oils out there. Essential oils can be preventative and can also improve acute or chronic health problems.They are a very concentrated form of the plants they come from. For example, one drop of peppermint oil is equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea! Imagine how much better my stomach feels after ingesting one drop of peppermint oil compared to the one cup of peppermint tea I used to drink when it was feeling upset! And they are fast-acting! Essential oils enter your blood stream within 30 seconds! That’s why I love these oils for hangover headaches – so much faster than waiting for a pill to dissolve in my already upset tummy!

There is so much science and history to back up the amazing power of these oils. Not only are essential oils a safe, natural, environmentally friendly way to improve your health and the health of those you love, but you can also use these oils to clean and cook! Here are my top 5 favorites:

1. PastTense

PastTense is the tension blend. It includes peppermint, lavender, wintergreen, frankincense, cilantro, marjoram, roman chamomile, basil, and rosemary. The strongest smell comes from the wintergreen and peppermint. This is an oil you can feel working immediately! A couple of seconds after applying it, you begin to feel a tingly sensation – the oils at work! I use this oil for headaches and have used it when waking up with a sore jaw after a night of clenching my teeth.

2. On Guard

On Guard is the protective blend. I have been taking one drop of this blend internally  every morning for about 7 months and have not been sick once! On Guard supports healthy immune functioning. This amazing blend has also been shown to improve symptoms of MRSA. This is also a great blend to use in your home – it can be diffused to kill bacteria in the air as well as mixed with water or other natural carriers to clean and disinfect surfaces. There are so many great things to say about this blend, I’ll have to do an entire post! 🙂

3. Grapefruit

Grapefruit essential oil is my favorite addition to my daily green smoothie! It adds a great citrus taste and the smell is very uplifting. Grapefruit, along with most other citrus oils, is great for detoxing. It eats away harmful chemicals that reside in our fat cells, helping to cleanse the body as well as shrink fat cells!

4. Frankincense

Oh Frankincense! You might recognize this oil from back in the day, when the three Wise Men brought it as a gift to baby Jesus, or at least that’s how the story goes! doTERRA’s frankincense oil comes directly from Oman where it grows naturally. This is an amazing oil with a lot of scientific research behind it. This oil is cell selective – which means it can identify “bad” cells and impact these, while leaving healthy cells alone. It can also cross the blood-brain barrier, which the majority of Western medicine mechanisms cannot. Again, too much to say here, but I use this oil for my daily preventative regimen, on wrinkles, and to treat muscle inflammation.

5. Peppermint

I use this oil daily as well, mainly when that 3:00 slump hits at work and I want to take a nap! One lick of this oil will wake you up and clear out your sinuses. Warning – it is strong! 🙂 Peppermint oil can be used for headaches and digestive issues. My favorite thing about this oil is it’s cooling effect. I am very sensitive to the heat and when I’m feeling it, I rub a drop or two on my forehead and the back of my neck. Within 2 minutes, those areas are cool to the touch! It is amazing! This cooling makes it a good oil to use for fevers as well!

That’s a lot of info about essential oils, but there is so much more!

Check out my website to learn more about doTERRA oils and message me with any questions! I’m happy to help you learn about natural alternatives to improving your life!