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.