Thursday, December 30, 2010

Death by Sugar

Well, now that Christmas is over and most people have eaten way more sweets and unhealthy food than they should have...I figured it was a good time to do a post about the harmful effects of sugar.

I've been learning about this for years, but today I decided to google "harmful effects of sugar." You would not believe the overwhelming amount of information available on this topic!

Since I try to keep my posts somewhat concise, I won't list all the websites I read or shower you with all the explanations of why sugar is such a dangerous substance. But I will give you a very short list of some of its harmful effects.

(Nancy Appleton, PhD, clinical nutritionist, has a list of 146 reasons of 'how sugar is ruining your health' in her book "Lick the Sugar Habit.")

Sugar -
- Depresses the immune system
- Increases candida overgrowth
- Raises insulin levels
- Leads to diabetes
- Depletes the body's natural levels of Human Growth Hormone (necessary for many essential functions in the body)
- Damages the body's production of collagen (also necessary for many functions)
- Causes inflamation in the body
- Increases cholesterol
- Feeds cancer cells
- Can damage DNA

...Ok, if you're not sweating in fear yet, you should be.

Consider this statement:
"Because sugar is devoid of minerals, vitamins, fiber, and has such a deteriorating effect on the endocrine system, major researchers and major health organizations (American Dietetic Association and American Diabetic Association) agree that sugar consumption in America is one of the 3 major causes of degenerative disease."

Did you catch that? Americans are sugar-ing themselves to death!

Now, maybe you're thinking, "Well, I don't eat a lot of sweets."

That may be true, but if you eat anything from a box, can, package, etc. then you are probably consuming much more sugar than you can imagine.

The government's recommended daily limit for sugar intake is no more than 30 grams. Most brands of soda have more sugar than that in one can!

If you read every label of what you eat throughout the day and added up the total grams of sugar you're consuming, I'm sure you'd be shocked. And even if somehow you're within the recommended limit of 30 grams a day, that "small" amount is still doing damage.

So, my challenge to you today is ... say goodbye to sugar! Choose LIFE, not Death by Sugar.


more info:
http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/sugar.htm
http://www.organicnutrition.co.uk/articles/is-sugar-bad-for-you.htm
http://www.naturalnews.com/022692.html

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Miracles

Yes, God still does miracles. Just not always in the way we expect Him to.

Sometimes when I'm watching Christian programs on TV, I have a hard time listening to people's testimonies of being instantly healed from various health problems. I mean, I'm happy for them, and I praise God for healing them. But somehow it makes me feel bad that I'm still stuck in my situation, that God hasn't given me an instant healing.

Yet even though God has chosen not to heal me instantly, He has done many miracles in my life! They weren't the ones I expected. Sometimes they weren't even the ones I asked for.

But miracles aren't about us...they're about God! He does them for His glory! And He always knows which ones we need, and which ones someone else needs.


Over the last several years, these are a few of the miracles God has done for me:

*God has kept me alive "in famine."
Psalm 33:18-19 says, "the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine."

On the surface, that doesn't sound like a good thing. Why wouldn't God deliver them from the famine? In this case the miracle was not removing the famine, but keeping them alive in it.

That's how I feel about the last 6 years. We know now that there were SOOO many things wrong with my body...but somehow God kept me alive through them.
Here's a partial list:
Lymes disease
Ehrylichiosis
Bartonella
Intestinal parasites
Microscopic parasites in my adrenal gland
Parasites in my blood
Mercury toxicity
Overload of about 60 other individual toxins
Systemic Candida infection
Numerous viral and bacterial infections throughout my body. (Yes, they can "hide" in various organs and wreak havoc for years.)

These are just a few of the root causes we've identified and treated over the recent months. Looking back I'm in awe that God kept my body going somehow in spite of everything that was attacking it. It truly is miraculous! And I am very grateful!


*God has kept me walking in faith.
There have been so many times when I wanted to give up, when I was angry, when I didn't even care anymore...and every time, somehow, God restored me to faith and trust in Him.

It's a terrible thing to lose your health. But I think it's even worse to lose heart and let go of faith in God. By God's miraculous power and overflowing grace, He didn't let that happen to me. He never let me go!
   
"If the LORD had not been on our side...the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away. Praise be to the LORD...Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." -Psalm 124:2,4-6,8

I will forever be grateful to everyone who has prayed me through this trial. God answered those prayers by sustaining not just my body, but my soul as well.


*God delivered me from the tyranny of a drug!
It's hard to put into words what an awful thing it is to be on a medication that you absolutely HAVE to take in order to stay alive. I pray you never have to experience that kind of bondage.

After 5 years of struggling to wean myself off this medication, we asked God for a miracle...and He did it!
In only 9 weeks I went from taking 12.5 mg of Cortef a day, to being completely Cortef-free!!! And I'm still functioning at the same level...maybe even a little better. Praise the Lord!

"In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and He answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid." -Psalm 118:5-6


So, yes, God still does miracles, but not always in the way we expect or the timing we ask for.

Remember, not every miracle looks the same. But it's the same God who works each miracle - graciously intervening in our lives with His power and love.

I pray we will all see more of His miraculous hand at work around us.

Blessings,
-Joanna
.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Great Shoe Hunt

More than 7 years ago, on a whim, I bought a pair of flip flops at K-mart for $5. It turned out to be one of the best investments I've made in the last 10 years.
These stury, comfortable, washable (very important!) shoes have lasted really well (made in Brazil). But this fall I realized they were starting to fall apart. I thought my mom could just pick up a new pair at Wal-Mart, but I was wrong.
So began the Great Shoe Hunt!

I honestly had no idea that in 7 years the shoe landscape would have changed so much. =) Of course it doesn't help that I need a VERY specific kind of shoe.

I need a shoe that is -
either a flip flop or sport slide (so my feet can breathe),
washable (since shoes pick up all kinds of bacteria and other nasties),
thick sole (for my arthritic feet),
no massage beads or bubbles,
made from sturdy rubber (at least I think that's what it is, not sure),
no fabric, suede or leather,
no recycled material used in it...
but most of all,
NOT made in China. (In my experience, 99% of products made in China are highly toxic. I avoid them like the plague.)

First my mom looked in several shoe stores...with no results. Then I spent hours on the internet. After exhaustive research, I ended up frustrated and weary. I really had no idea it was going to be THIS difficult.

- I finally found a company with shoes made in USA, but they're made from recycled material, so that won't work.
- I found a style of Adidas shoe that looks good for me, but it doesn't say where it's made. I called customer service and they didn't know either. So they sent in a "research request" to find out. Supposedly they'll get back to me. We'll see....
- I found another adidas shoe that I think is made in Italy (it wasn't on the adidas website but on a different one), but then the website wouldn't work so I couldn't check out the details on it.

Those are just a few of my frustrating attempts to find a suitable pair of shoes. In the last 2 weeks I've looked at more pairs of shoes than I ever want to see again in my lifetime! haha =)

I was reading in Matthew 6 yesterday where Jesus said not to worry about what we eat, drink, or wear. I guess that includes shoes. =) This command is so much more difficult for those of us with E.I. Something other people take for granted can be a hazard for us. But I suppose it can also be even more meaningful for us...knowing that God will provide not just clothes/shoes, but "safe" clothes/shoes for us.

I know the Lord knows my needs before I even ask Him. So I'm trying to exercise faith, and just expect that He will meet this need...when He knows it's the perfect time.

And if I ever do find a good pair of shoes, I might just buy 3 pairs. =)
.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holidays

I've been thinking a lot about holidays lately. For most of my life holidays have been about being with family, eating special food, and doing fun things...none of which I'm able to do in my current state. Which is why I often have to fight depression on holidays (as do most people with E.I.).

I just finished reading Leviticus and I was struck by the description of the Jewish 'holidays'. I discovered that they all have 2 things in common – 1) the people were not to work and 2) they were to bring an offering to God.

We Americans are pretty good at the not working part, but, speaking for myself, I know I've been lacking in the bringing an offering to God part.

So this Thanksgiving, since I couldn’t be with family, and I couldn’t eat any special food, and I couldn’t do anything fun…I decided to “celebrate” by bringing an offering to God - a "complaint-free" day. No grumbling, self-pity, or negative thoughts. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but, praise the Lord, He helped me do it! And I can honestly say I think it was the best Thanksgiving I've had in a long time. =)

This new perspective on ‘holidays’ is something I hope to keep for the rest of my life, whether healthy or sick.
So yes, sometimes there is an up side to living with E.I. =)

Blessings,
-Joanna

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm Back

Hello! So sorry it's been forever since I've posted anything here. I have a whole list of posts ready in my head, just haven't been able to transfer them to the computer yet. Maybe in November I can....

Unfortunately, this is a big part of living with E.I. - wanting to do things, but not being able to; planning to do things one day and not being able to do them until much later; feeling frustrated, feeling useless....

One of the worst things for those of us with E.I. is having to listen to "motivational" speeches. What's the use of getting all "motivated" when you can't do anything about it? So much of our culture revolves around what we do, what we accomplish, pushing ourselves to do better, try harder, excel more than others.... For me the challenge is to NOT do, to NOT push my body, to NOT try harder - but to learn to be still, to accept the limitations God puts on me, to wait patiently for HIM to act, for HIM to change my circumstances, for HIM to do something through me.

Just once, I'd like to hear a "motivational" speech like that.
"Don't cram more things in your schedule. Don't push your body past what it can do. Don't try to accomplish more than your neighbor. Instead slow down. Listen. Wait. Let God act."
Wouldn't that be a shocker to the rest of the world.

Psalm 147:10-11 says, "His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love."

That's what I want to do. I want to Fear God - to acknowledge that HIS plan is best, even when it's not what I would have chosen, to remember that He doesn't make mistakes and He worthy of my praise - always. I want to put my Hope in the LORD - to trust in Him, to have a good attitude wherever He puts me, and to never forget His love for me.

That is what God delights in. Not how much I get done, how great my accomplishments are, or how many people know my name. He delights in those who acknowledge Him as GOD and who rest in His love.

So even if I never get to make another post on this blog, it's ok. If it takes another year, or two, or three, or more...until I have a "normal" life again, that's ok too. If I never get to do all the things my heart has dreamed about, it'll be ok.

As long as God delights in me, I believe I can be happy and fulfilled.
May that be the prayer of all of our hearts.
Amen.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Word About Cancer

I know this blog is mainly about Environmental Illness, but today I wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts about cancer.

Recently I heard an amazing statistic: 40% of cancer is preventable. Forty percent! That's almost half of all cancer cases!
After everything I've learned about the human body, this statistic does not surprise me. What does surprise me is that the medical community doesn't seem to be taking this seriously! They keep pushing for a cure for cancer - and believe me I'd love to see that happen too - but if 40% is preventable, why aren't they focusing as much on education and prevention?

Cancer seems so prevalent now. There's hardly a home or family in America that hasn't been affected by it in some way. I know there's a lot of information out there about cancer, more than I have the strength to read through. But I've learned some things in the last couple of years that I hope might be helpful to someone who reads this.

We live in a world of cause and effect. If you see an effect, you know there's a cause. People don't get sick for no reason. There's always a cause (or several causes). So let's consider some causes of cancer.

1) Toxins - The obvious example is cigarette smoke. People who smoke (or who live with a smoker) are likely to get lung cancer. Why? Because tobacco is a toxin - a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) toxin.
So an important question to consider is:
Is there such a thing as a non-carcinogenic toxin?
I'm not a bio-chemist, so I can't give a definitive answer to that question. However, my suspicion is that all toxins are carcinogenic. I think some toxins cause cancer more quickly, while other toxins build up in the body for years before cancer appears.

Two years ago a doctor found at least 2 pesticides in my blood (DDE and something else). She said - "These pesticides are 100% carcinogenic. If you don't get them out of your body, you will get cancer."
Many toxins in our environment are known carcinogens. It makes sense that the rest are as well.

So if toxins cause cancer - DETOXIFY your home and personal care products as much as possible by switching to healthy alternative products. Then Detoxify your body through lymphatic massage, exercise, supplements, etc.
Don't let toxins build up in your body and possibly lead to cancer. You can do something about them now.


2) Fungus - In many cases, it's been proven that the cancer is linked to an overgrowth of fungus in the body. Anti-fungal drugs have proved effective against many forms of cancer (including Aspirin). Many doctors now tell their cancer patients to eat low or no sugar diets because the sugar feeds the cancer. Guess what? Sugar also feeds fungus! Maybe there's a reason for that....

If this is true, (and I believe it is) then the best thing to do is simply change your diet.
Don't eat foods that contribute to fungus growth - sugar, dairy, yeast, etc.
Eat more anti-fungal foods - brocoli, cinnamon, coconut/coconut oil, etc.
You can also use anti-fungal supplements - olive leaf extract, oregano oil, caprylic acid, etc.
Learn about how to keep fungus in your body to a minimum.
If fungus is linked to cancer, this is a good way to prevent it.
(There's much more information about this fungus-cancer link and an anti-fungal diet at KnowtheCause.com)


3) Radiation - The jury is still out on this one because the research is so new. Personally, I think there's already good evidence that radiation from things like cordless phones, cell phones, and laptops causes cancer.

My aunt died of a brain tumor a couple of years ago. As far as I know the doctors didn't give any reason why an otherwise healthy woman in her 60's would suddenly be brought down by a tumor. However, she spent hours every day on the phone at her job. My mom believes that the radiation from the phone is what caused the tumor.

Even if you think there is weak evidence to support this, isn't it worth it to take some precautions?
Don't use cordless phones. They emit as bad or worse radiation than many cell phones. Regular phones that plug into the wall are ok as far as I know.
Don't hold a cell phone to your ear. Use a headset or put the phone on speaker and hold it away from your face.
Don't carry cell phones in your pocket. Having the radiation next to you all the time is bad. Leave it in a purse or something else that you can carry away from yourself.
Don't set laptops right on your lap. Set them to the side or put something underneath them as a barrier between you and the radiation.

I'm sure there are other radiation precautions you can take if you research it a little.
(For more information about cell phone radiation and a list of phones with the least amount, go to ewg.org)


I wish & pray that there would be a cure for cancer soon. But in the meantime, I hope that more people will get serious about education and prevention.
So to all six of you who actually read this blog =) - please take care of yourselves! And please tell others about this, pass these ideas along, and maybe we'll be able to help someone in the process.

Blessings,
-Joanna

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Some Specific Diet Changes

I know I said I'd do this post sooner...sorry for the delay.
Here are a few of the specific diet changes I've made over the years:


1) no pork or fish/seafood - Aside from my allergy to pork and lifelong distaste for fish, I also learned that these two meats are highly toxic. Pigs are basically 4-legged garbage disposals. They eat anything and everything. When you eat pork, you essentially eat whatever that pig ate. Not to mention that almost every form of pork is made with lots of preservatives (bacon, ham, sausage, etc.). Fish/seafood often sounds healthy because it has Omega-3 oils, HOWEVER it is also highly toxic. As the ocean becomes more toxic, so do the fish.
One other factor is that both pork and fish contain parasites and you have to cook them at VERY high temperatures to kill the parasites. Almost no one cooks them high enough to kill the parasites because people don't like meat that's "overcooked."
So generally speaking, it's best to avoid these two foods.


2) seldom eat dairy products or yeast - These two foods contribute to fungus growth in the body so it's best not to eat them often, if at all.


3) I rarely eat raw vegies (& fruits unless they're blended) - For some reason my stomach doesn't handle raw food well. I've heard from many sources that raw fruits and vegies is the "ideal" diet. I think for many people this is true. But if you're like me, you might notice a big change in how you feel if you just stop eating raw and switch to cooked vegies instead. (Once I stopped eating salad my stomach improved a lot.)


4) no cold drinks - Along with not eating raw, my doctor told me not to drink cold water. She said I have a "cold" stomach. That means I shouldn't eat raw foods, should drink warm water, and should eat other foods that will "warm" up my stomach. If you can identify whether you have a "warm" or "cold" stomach, it might help a lot.


5) no "nightshade" vegetables - This includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and green pepper I think. These vegies can deplete magnesium in the body. Since magnesium deficiency is a problem I've had for years, I don't eat these vegies, except for once in a while, on special occasions. I definitely noticed a positive change when I stopped eating these foods (especially potatoes and tomato paste/sauce).


Well, I thought there was one more, but I can't remember it for some reason. If it comes back to me I'll add it later. =)
I hope these ideas are helpful to you.
Remember, you ARE what you EAT. Take it seriously.


Blessings,
-Joanna
.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Day In The Life...

When I started this blog I fully intended to do regular posts about my day to day experiences living with E.I.
Well, I had good intentions, but not much follow-through. So anyway, at long last, here's a little story about a day in the life of an E.I. person.

Last week was really rough for me. Every day I kept smelling some awful, chemical smell coming from the laundry room into the kitchen. My mom (bless her soul) moved anything and everything she could think of that might be causing the smell, but it persisted. It was causing me to have trouble breathing and just feel worse overall.
Finally my mom started looking around outside the laundry room to see if the smell was coming from something in the back yard. Right by the back door is a peace lily plant infested with grashoppers.
So yesterday she killed about 50 of them, then, being the smart mom that she is, she caught one alive in a jar so we could muscle test to see if I was allergic to it.
She brought it into the house and as soon as it was about 5 feet away from me, I just lost it!
You see, often when I have a severe allergic reaction it causes me to sob uncontrollably. I know it's weird, but that's what happens.
Before I even touched the jar with the grasshopper in it, my body completely freaked out! My mind knew it was just a grasshopper, but my body was screaming, "Run away!!!"
By God's grace I was able to hold the jar, while crying at the top of my lungs, so mom could do the allergy treatment on me. It took three times through the treatment before I stopped crying and our muscle testing indicated my allergy had been cleared.
Now, I've been through a lot of strange experiences with this Environmental Illness, but I think that probably ranks in the top 5! It was so bizarre. Imagine being highly allergic to a grasshopper! Actually, my guess is that they have some kind of natural poisonous or toxic gas that they give off as their protection from predators. As soon as I have some energy I'm going to research it and see if my hunch is right. All I know is, none of the animals in our neighborhood will eat the things!
As far as the chemical smell, I still don't know if it's coming from the grasshoppers or something else, but it certainly did result in an interesting story. =)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"The Happy Diet"

Sorry for the lapse in my posting lately. I've been working on this post for a while, finally got it done. Enjoy! =)


Maybe you've heard of the "Hallelujah Diet"? It's basically like what Adam and Eve ate - all raw fruits and vegies. Several years ago one of my doctors recommended it for me since he said it cured his cancer. Unfortunately, it made me worse.
There are a lot of diet options out there. The all-protein diet, the low carb diet, the food combination diet, the candida diet, the blood type diet, etc. I don't even know all the crazy options there are.

People often ask me what my diet is like. It's actually very restricted at the moment. I've made many changes over the years and tried many different options. My opinion is that every person's body is unique. What works for one person may be harmful to another person.
However, I do believe there are certain diet changes that EVERY person can make that are good and helpful. This is what I call the "Happy Diet" - not necessarily because you'll be happy to make these changes, but because these changes will make your body happier. =)

I recommend implementing these diet changes gradually so you're not overwhelmed. Maybe make one change per week or per month, whatever is doable for you. Keep praying about what God wants you to do and how He desires you to take care of your body.


The Happy Diet -

1) No canned food -
Personally I think there are many problems with canned food, including less actual food value than fresh or frozen, possible food poisoning from improper processing, an abundance of preservatives, etc.
However the biggest problems is that almost all canned foods contain BPA (Bisphenol-A), a toxin that is linked to many different health problems, including cancer, diabetes, etc. The BPA is used to make an epoxy resin to line the cans in order to keep the food from being contaminated by the metal of the can. So basically they use one toxin to prevent another toxin from mixing with the food.
The FDA claims that the levels of BPA are "safe," and for a starving person in a famine-ravaged country, I imagine it would be the least of their worries. However, for those of us with an abundance of choices, why knowingly pollute our bodies?
The hardest part about not eating canned food is simply changing our habits. It's not that hard, though, you can do it! =)

For more info on dangers of canned food you can check out this website:
http://www.technewsworld.com/story/68569.html?wlc=1269807786


2) No microwaved food -
Microwaves are quick and convenient, but also can be harmful because microwaving signifcantly changes the food's nutrients & molecular structure. If you use plastic containers in the microwave then you risk toxic exposure from those.
There are plenty of problems with microwaving. According to one website I checked, micowaved food poses nutritional, toxic, chemical, and electromagnetic dangers.
I think the hardest part of not using a microwave is losing the convenience, but I've found that using a toaster oven works just as well for reheating or light cooking of food. This really is a simple change to make.

For more information check out this website:
http://www.relfe.com/microwave.html


3) Switch to organic -
People who eat "normal" (non-organic) fruits and vegies consume an average of 2-10 pesticides a day! (ewg.org) That's pretty scary when you think about it. If you eat non-organic meat then you're consuming the antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides that the animal had in it.
It really is important to eat organic as much as possible, thus limiting the amount of toxins you are ingesting through your diet.
In today's market this isn't hard. You can buy organic produce, even frozen fruits & vegies, organic meats, organic flour, rice, oatmeal, milk, eggs, etc. You name it and most likely you can find it organic.
For most people the hardest part about switching to organic is the increased cost. The reality is you will have to pay for it sometime - either pay now and buy organic, or you'll pay later when your health breaks down and you end up running from doctor to doctor.

If you want organic beef I recomend Laura's Lean Beef brand. Here's the website to help you find where you can get it. (We usually get it at Super Target.)
http://www.laurasleanbeef.com/
Otherwise, I know Publix has good organic brands and most health food stores do as well.


4) No (or few) preservatives -
Preservatives is another word for chemicals or toxins. I recently heard a christian doctor say that God gave man the power and ability to do many things, but He didn't give us the ability to make food. But that's just what is happening now! Those "man-made" foods are harmful to our bodies. Yes, we have freedom in Christ to eat all kinds of things, we aren't bound by law to a certain diet like the Israelites were. However, we can't fill our bodies with dangerous chemicals and expect to stay healthy.
Not eating preservatives is a big challenge. It means giving up our convenient foods - frozen meals, snacks, packaged foods, mixes, etc. It means cooking natural, real foods the old fashioned way. But if your health is worth it to you, you'll find a way to make this change.
Now, even I leave room for exceptions. I keep some crackers on hand at all times in case my blood sugar drops and I don't have time to make something. But almost all of my regular diet is homemade, with no preservatives. When we eat like that regularly, then our bodies are better able to handle the few times we eat the chemical foods.
Give it a try, you can do it! =)


5) No (or little) sugar/sweeteners -
This is probably the hardest change of all to make. Americans are clearly addicted to sugar. However, sugar is a known inflamatory - it causes inflamation in our bodies, which results in all kinds of problems. Sugar also feeds fungus growth in our bodies, and has been shown to contribute to cancer growth.
The recomended MAXIMUM amount of sweeteners per day is between 32 and 40 grams (my sources varied on this). That's less than 1/4 cup. You'd get at least that much in one soda, two granola bars, or one brownie. It's time to say NO to sweeteners - this includes sugar, corn syrup, other syups, honey, etc. It also includes artifical sweeteners like splenda, equal, etc. (Those are not just bad for you sweetener-wise, but also bad for you chemical-wise because they've been chemically generated or altered. I'd avoid them at all costs.)
If you are going to use a sweetener, try to use natural ones like organic honey and maple syrup or use healthy alternatives like stevia or xylitol. But most of all cut back on your sweetener intake and learn to enjoy natural sources of healthy sugars found in fruits and some vegies.

Here's my blog post with more details.
http://supereigirl.blogspot.com/2010/12/death-by-sugar.html

And here's an article about dangers of sugar.
http://www.cspinet.org/new/sugar.html


6) Drink more water! And absolutely NO soda -
A study recently completed found that people who drink 2 or more sodas a week have an 87% increased risk of pancreatic cancer! (http://www.webmd.com/cancer/pancreatic-cancer/news/20100208/pancreatic-cancer-linked-sodas)
Not only is there no nutritional value in soda, it is in fact dangerous to your health (even diet sodas). It feeds fungus, it adds calories you don't need, and according to this study it increases your risk of cancer. So who in their sane mind would want to drink it? Well, it's easy to turn a blind eye and think, oh it won't be that bad for me. But it is. Now you've been warned.
About the water - I heard one doctor recomend you drink one glass of water every hour that you're awake. I don't know anyone who does that, but if you start with 8 full glasses a day that will be good for your body.
Please, don't drink tap water (unless you have your own well). City water is full of chemicals, especially chlorine. The goal is to hydrate your body, not add more pollutants to it.
If you buy bottled water, don't get the "Purified" water, as it's essentially the same as tap water. I stick with Spring water, only brands in the thick plastic bottles which are less likely to leach plastic toxins. (And don't reuse plastic bottles because then you will get toxins leaching from them.)
My mom uses a Pur water filter on the kitchen faucet and it seems to work pretty well for what it costs. I'm not an expert on water filter systems. There are so many options and opinions out there.
The important thing is to find the best source of clean water for your situation and then drink lots of it! =)


There you have it - The Happy Diet!

I hope you'll have the courage and discipline to make some of these changes, and that as you do, you'll see a difference in how you feel.

Remember, you ARE what you eat. Take it seriously.


Next time - some of my more specific diet changes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Word About Toxins

I'm sorry it's been a while since I've posted anything. Detoxing has been pretty rough lately. So I'll keep this post short. Just wanted to say a word about toxins.

Recently in my research I came across this disturbing quote:

"The first principle of toxicology is 'the dose makes the poison.' It's the AMOUNT of a potentially hazardous chemical, not its presence or absence, that determines the potential for harm."
(from - http://www.technewsworld.com/story/68569.html?wlc=1269807786)

Now, at first this might sound reasonable, and if we were talking about ONE toxin in ONE product, it could possibly be an acceptable statement.
HOWEVER, the reality is that we're talking about dozens of toxins in literally thousands of products, both for daily use and commercial use.

A toxin is still a toxin, and a poison is still a poison, no matter how much or little of it is present! Yes, our bodies have the ability to 'detox' toxins and poisons, but they are still not GOOD for us. If they were good for us they wouldn't be called toxins or poisons.

Yet, our government operates under the same attitude as the person who made the above statement. They have labeled those thousands of products as "safe" becuase the AMOUNT of toxins/poisons is considered "small enough."
Maybe if they were bankers instead of politicians they'd understand the concept of compounded interest. One product with "safe" amounts of toxins probably wouldn't cause much damage. But when you compound hundreds of prodcuts that contain "safe" amounts of toxic chemicals (including the food we eat, the water we drink, the houses we live in, the fragrances we wear, etc, etc, etc.) there is no way you can avoid an overload of toxins/poisons.

Am I the only one who thinks this both ridiculous and scary?

The government may label thousands of products as "safe," but that doesn't mean they really are safe for you and me. We cannot rely on the government or profit-motivated companies to protect us from toxic exposure.
Take responsibility for your own health. Educate yourself. Read labels. Change your buying habits. Make your voice heard.
And don't buy into the theory that a "small" amount of toxins/poisons is "safe."

May God have mercy on us.
.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slaves or Partners?

Unfortunately, I think most people today treat their bodies like slaves. They do whatever they want to them (bad eating habits, little sleep, etc.) and then expect their bodies to still do everything they tell them to. If their bodies try to protest it is ignored. They give very little time to taking care of their bodies or considering what they really need.
It's sad.

I can say this, because I used to be like this. I used to think my body was supposed to do what I wanted it to and not bother me. I didn't listen to my body, I didn't consider its needs. So it crashed. Then I learned to pay attention.

So if you're reading this and your body hasn't crashed yet, this would be a good time to evaluate your thinking toward your body and maybe make some changes.

God said our body is HIS temple, His dwelling place (Eph. 2:22, 1 Cor. 6:19-20). It is not our slave. I like to think of my body more as my partner. Without my body functioning properly I am limited in what I can do, thus limited in what God can do through me.

Over the last several years I've learned to listen to my body. It may sound a little weird to you, but it's true that your body will try to communicate to you when it needs rest, water, healthy food, exercise, etc. The hard part is learning to listen and then to act. Make your health a priority, not for selfish reasons, but because you want to be a good steward or caretaker of the body God has given you.

Now it's true that we shouldn't let our bodies rule our lives (1 Cor. 6:12-13). If we learn how to work with our bodies and how to be prayerful about what we do, I don't think we'll have to worry that. I believe God will give us the strength we need to do the things He's called us to, and that includes taking GOOD care of our bodies.

Your body is a gift from God. Learn to treat it like one.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Bottom 5"

You've heard of the "Top 10" list. This is the "Bottom 5" list, in honor of the fact that I have now survived 9 whole months of detoxing!

Now, you probably won't experience all these things as you detox, but for me here are the 5 worst things about detoxing:

1. "Toxic nightmares" - whenever I'm detoxing something especially nasty like pesticide or mercury, I tend to have really awful dreams all nght, sometimes so bad that I have to wake up and turn on lights and praise music. At least I know they are "toxin-induced" though and not because I'm crazy. =)

2. Being allergic to my clothes - the toxins are literally pouring out of my skin so that my clothes are so full of them, my mom has to wash them at least 3-4 times before I can wear them again without having a reaction. It's nuts.

3. An annoying rash that comes and goes whenever and wherever it pleases. - it especially likes to itch the worst in the middle of the night. Not fun.

4. All the detoxing symptoms - depending on what I'm detoxing, the symptoms can range from nausea, brain fog, or a metallic taste in my mouth, to trouble breathing, joint and muscle pain, headaches, etc.

5. Feeling like this detoxing will never end - no matter how many toxins my body gets rid of, it seems there's always more just waiting to come out. I get really tired of feeling "toxic."


There you have it. Now aren't you excited to start detoxing? =)


Here's a quick addition to my "You know you're detoxing..." list, from my friend Sam, who also suffers with E.I.

"You know you're detoxing...when a mosquito lands on your arm, bites into your skin, and expires."

Just think, it could be a new method of mosquito control! =)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lymphatic Massage

As I mentioned in my last post, I believe lymphatic massage is the best way to begin detoxing and the key that unlocks your body's natural detoxing system so that other methods become even more effective for you as well.

Lymphatic massage is so powerful because it works with your body, instead of pushing your body. It assists your body's natural detoxification process.

Sickness, stress, lack of exercise, etc. cause our bodies to tense up. As the muscles get tighter the lymphatic system is basically choked. Doing the massage relaxes the muscles and opens up the flow of the lymph, which is a fluid that moves the toxins out of your body.

The really amazing thing about lymphatic massage is that as you continue to do it, your lymphatic system will actually pull toxins out of the places where they are stored (in organs, tissues, glands, etc. So you don't have to do chelation or take a bunch of supplements to dig out the toxins buried deep in your body. Your body will do it naturally if you keep the lymphatic system moving well.

Basic lymphatic massage is pretty simple. Just start with gentle stroking or gentle pressure, whichever feels good. When I first started, my mom could barely touch me because I was so toxic that even my skin hurt. Gradually as the toxins came out she was able to rub a little harder, use a little more pressure, etc. Just remember that it's supposed to be a relaxing massage, not painful like a deep-tissue massage. And always massage toward the heart/torso.

My naturopath recommends using oil on the skin for the massage since it cuts down on the friction. I'm sensitive to any kind of oil, so that didn't work for me. I think it works ok without the oil. If you do use oil, try to find something natural like organic coconut oil or something that will not harm your body since it will be absorbed into your body through the skin.

When my mom feels a tense place or a kind of 'lump' under my skin she'll often just place her hand on top of it for several seconds and let that heat sort of "melt" the lump. Then she can gently rub it out. This happens most often in my feet. For some reason they always have lumps in different places.

The following website has some brief video clips that show how to do different parts of the massage as well as where the major lymph nodes are, and more more.
http://www.ehow.com/videos-on_4277_expect-lymphatic-drainage-massage.html

Just remember, go slow. When I first started I could only handle about 10 minutes of massage. After that I'd feel nauseated and weak. As my body got rid of more toxins I could handle longer massages. If you do too much massage or too often, your body will be dumping a bunch of toxins at once and you'll deinitely feel worse because of it. Always pay attention to your body and listen to what it's telling you. A little at a time is better than a whole lot at once. =) And don't forget to drink LOTS of water after a massage, to help move the toxins out quickly.

There's plenty of information about lymphatic massage online if you want to learn more. These websites have information about what it does and why it's helpful.
www.massagetherapy.com
http://ezinearticles.com/?Lymphatic-Massage---The-Benefits&id=283527

Here's a sample paragraph from the second website -


"The lymphatic system has no central pump and depends on muscle contraction through deep breathing, exercise and manual manipulation to move fluid.
Lymphatic massage utilizes a very light pressure combined with soft pumping movements in the direction of the lymph nodes. Immune system function can be significantly increased, improving metabolism and helping the body to eliminate waste and toxins."


I think my naturpath would say that lymphatic massage is good for everyone. However, the above websites do list a caution for people with certain health issues.


"For the most part lymphatic massage is safe. However as with all massage therapies there are some contra indications. For lymphatic massage specifically, these include acute inflammation, malignant tumors, thrombosis and major heart problems."

"Lymph massage is a type of massage which is designed to promote the healthy flow of lymph, the clear fluid which supports immune system function by flowing through the body and sequestering foreign material like viruses. Practitioners of lymph massage believe that the massage eliminates blockages in the lymphatic system, while also helping to pull out toxins. This type of massage is generally very gentle, but there are some serious contraindications, because massage work around the lymphatic system can make some medical conditions worse. Therefore, it is important to talk to a doctor before booking an appointment for lymph massage.
You may hear this type of massage called lymphatic massage, lymphatic drainage, or manual lymphatic drainage. People with inflammations and current infections should not get lymph massage, because the massage can encourage the spread of the infection. Lymph massage is also contraindicated for people with tumors and undiagnosed lumps, as well as people with clotting issues and heart problems. Lymph massage can make all of these conditions worse."


My best advice (as long as you don't have any of the above conditions) is just give it a try and see how it feels. It's made a huge difference for me! My naturopath discovered this when he was struggling to recover from chronic fatigue. He's very healthy now and still has a massage once a week.

If you have any questions, please let me know. Anyone can post comments on this blog now, so feel free! =)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Detoxing 101

Hello. Yes, at long last I'm finally writing about detoxing! =)
First I want to say that I do not consider myself an expert on this subject. So far I haven't met anyone who is. I'm simply sharing what I've learned from experience, both good and bad, and what works for me.

There are many different methods for detoxing out there, including - detox supplements, herbal and homeopathic remedies, coffee enemas, chelation, sauna therapy, etc.
My personal opinion is that most of these things are actually stressful for the body, thus not the best or most effective methods. You definitely need dr supervision for chelation and sauna therapy. They can be powerful detoxers, but also can be risky.

I tried different ways to detox, including foot baths (with a special machine that pulls toxins out of your feet), rebounding, and supplements, but they either didn't work or made me feel much worse. One dr even told me that maybe my body wasn't capable of detoxing. (There are genetic studies about that and everything.)

Then God brought a dr along who taught my mom and I about lymphatic massage. What I learned amazed me! I've been doing lymphatic massage for about 9 months now and I'm very satisfied with the results. I think it's not only the best way to detox, but also the key that unlocks the body's natural detox system so that everything else you do to detox will be more effective.
I'll write a separate post about the massage next time.

Once I started doing the massage, my body was finally able to detox. So my detox program at the moment includes the following things:

* 2-3 massages a week, foot massages every day if possible (my mom does this for me, the techniques are not hard to learn)
If you don't have anyone who can massage you, then I recommend dry skin brushing. I haven't actually tried it myself yet because I've been doing the massage. But I have heard many good things about it. This website has great information and instructions for it -
http://www.naturalhealthtechniques.com/healingtechniques/Dry_Brushing_Technique.htm

* a detox bath every day (for most people 1-3 baths a week is probably enough)
There are different ways to do this. I use a mineral powder from my naturopath that helps pull toxins out through the skin. You can also use equal amounts of epsom salts and baking soda (1/4 cup each up to 1/2 cup each) or just epsom salts (1/2 cup) in a full tub of water, as hot as is comfortable for you, for 10-30 minutes depending on how you feel. The bath should feel good. If you start to feel uncomfortable it probably means the water is too hot or you've been in long enough. Rinse off well with a shower afterwards.
An important note - taking a bath (or shower) is like drinking a full glass of that tap water because the water is absorbed into your skin. So unless you have clean well water, it's vital to have a whole house water filter (you can get them at Lowes for about $50) or a shower filter (you can order them online at needs.com), or even both. If you don't filter out the chlorine and other chemicals in your tap water then taking a detox bath will actually cause you to absorb the chemicals from the water.

* rebounding (helps the lymphatic system also)
This is basically bouncing on a mini-trampoline or you can just bounce up & down on the balls of your feet. I only do about 1 minute of rebounding at a time, but I try to do it 2-3 tiimes a day. It depends on how it feels. If you start to feel sick after doing it, then decrease how long or how often you do it.

* exercise/sweating
Any exercise will help you detox, and sweating is a great way to get toxins out. Just remember to get a shower immediately after sweating. If you let the sweat dry on your body your skin will simply reabsorb the toxins that are in your sweat.

* stretching
You always hear about exercise but seldom about stretching. It's very important to help keep muscles, ligaments, etc. loosened up and not choking the lymphatic system. I do a simply stretching routine every day that takes about 3 minutes. I put it together using things I learned from aerobics, P.E., and my physical therapist. Find some stretches you're comfortable with put also push you a little. Then stick with it and try to add new ones now and then.


Well, there you have my recommendations for starting a detoxing program. The nice thing about these methods is that anyone can do them, at home, with little or no expense, not requiring a doctor (though having a dr who is knowledgeable about detoxing is always beneficial!) and with good results.

The last thing I want to say is just remember to listen to your body. When it comes to detoxing, pain is NOT gain. If it feels awful or painful - don't do it! Start slow. Don't push your body. Work with it.
If you are genuinely detoxing you will feel a little worse after your massage, bath, exercise, etc. because the toxins are coming out. But you shouldn't experience pain while doing those things. If you do, then slow down, back up, and do less. Give your body time to work out those toxins before you start the next detoxing step. Remember that it took years for toxins to build up in your body. It will take time for your body to push them out.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I've adjusted the settings on my blog so anyone can post comments now, even if you don't have a blogger id.
I really want this blog to be helpful, informative, and encouraging. I hope it is for you.

Happy Detoxing! =)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sponges

Well, I promised you I'd write about detoxing this month, but I think first I need to say a few words about toxins.

A toxin basically is a poison or something that is harmful. You cannot begin to imagine how many toxins are in our environment today. And many of them are hidden or unpredictable. Just last week I found out that the "natural" coconut oil I've been using is processed using petroleum products. No wonder I always seemed to react to it! I also read recently that certain kinds of baby formula have an ingredient that is the same one used in rocket fuel! If that doesn't scare you, I'm not sure anything will.
(I got that information from ewg.org - an excellent resource for learning more about what toxins are around you.)

There are toxins in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the buildings we live and work in, and in almost every product we use on our bodies.
The worst part about all this is that our bodies are not made of metal or plastic. They are more like sponges. We can't walk around thinking we have an indestructible shield around us. We are, in fact, absorbing every toxin we encounter into our bodies.

Thankfully, God created our bodies with a built-in detoxing function - the lymphatic system. However, the level of toxins in our environment is so much higher than it was even 20 years ago, that it's becoming next to impossible for our bodies to keep up. More toxins are coming in than the body can filter out. Picture yourself as a sponge, soaking up toxins all day long until you're dripping wet. Your body works hard to wring out a little water at a time, but at the end of the day, you're still dripping. That's when health problems begin to show up.

For a concrete example, let me give you a short list of some of the things I have detoxed in the last 9 months. (We've determined these things through symptoms like the taste in my mouth, smell of my sweat, etc. as well as through muscle testing.)

So far I've detoxed:
lead, mercury, copper, aluminum, silver, cadmium, asphalt, formaldehyde, acetone, epoxy, paint thinner, phenol, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, pesticide, herbicide, 5 kinds of antibiotics, at least 5 other medications, childhood vaccinations, crude oil and petoleum produts, smoke, perfume, lotion, shampoo, castille soap, propane, natural gas....
The list could go on, but I think you get the idea.

If you eat it, drink it, breathe it, wear it, or put it on your skin, it becomes part of you. Then your body has to work extra hard to get it OUT.

Maybe you're feeling a little overwhelmed by all this. I HOPE so! Until you realize how toxic your body probably is, you won't be able to help it.

The first step is simple. Sit down with a piece of paper and pen. Think through your day from start to finish and write down as many things you can think of that you encounter each day that are toxic, or harmful, to your body. Remember, if it's not something God created, you can be pretty sure it's toxic. (And even some "natural" products have hidden toxins.)

Next, mark those things on your list that you can give up, avoid or replace with a natural alternative. -- If this part seems too hard, just think about the money you'll save by giving up certain products. =) (You can also read my "Fragrance-Free Challenge post from January for more info on household toxins and natural replacements.)

Finally, prepare your mind for action! It's time to start a detoxing program. Consdering that there are SO many toxins you won't be able to avoid, your body needs all the helpl it can get.
Next time I'll write about how to get started detoxing.

Thanks for reading, my dear "spongy" friend. May you have a "dry" day today. =)
God bless.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Kudos to Non-Toxic Woman

Every person who suffers with E.I. really needs a dedicated caregiver. I am so blessed to have the best caregiver in the world - my mom. (She's known in the super-hero world as "Non-Toxic Woman.") =)

She has given up so much for me.
-She washes her hands & hair wtih baking soda so she can stay "fragrance-free."
-She always gets a shower after going anywhere so I don't have to risk reacting to some smell or toxin she might have encountered.
-She does all the grocery shopping, cooking, laundry...you name it. Not an easy task, especially lately when she's had to wash all the dishes by hand (because I've been reacting to the dishwasher) and wash some of my laundry multiple times (to get all the toxins out that I've been detoxing).

Anyway, these are just a few of the things Non-Toxic Woman does for me, to help keep my environment as safe and toxin-free as possible.

I just wanted to give her big kudos this week for adding to all of that, the willingness to help someone else - one of our friends with E.I. needed us last week. In spite of all the things she has on her plate, Non-Toxic Woman was there! She really is a super-hero! (especially to me)

Non-Toxic Woman - I know I probably don't say it enough, so here it is one more time:
THANK YOU!
You are the wind beneath my wings.
=)

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Soapbox

The nice thing about a blog is that it gives me a place to really get on my "soapbox," when otherwise I wouldn't be able to. So here goes. =)


At this point in my life, almost more than anything else, there are 2 things that frustrate me and break my heart at the same time.

#1 - People whose health is declining, but for some reason they pay no attention or think their health problems will somehow take care of themselves. Their bodies continue to deteriorate, but they do nothing because they are either clueless or in denial.
(Lest you think I'm being harsh, let me just say that I used to be one of these people - until my health COMPLETELY collapsed, and I was forced to pay attention to my body's needs. I don't ever want to see someone I care about go through the same thing.)

#2 - People whose health has already collapsed (like me, like others with E.I.), but all the doctors they've been to have been little or no help, and they're left with little or no hope of ever getting well.
(I've been in this place too, and let me tell you it's NOT pleasant.)


If you are reading this and you are not 99% satisfied with your health and pysical functionability (I'm not sure 100% is possible on this fallen earth), then you are included in group #1.
What I'd like to say to you is - STOP! Right now. Be stil for a moment and listen to your body. What is it saying?
If you're tired a lot, have aches and pains, difficulty concentrating, etc. - please hear this: it's your body trying to tell you that something is wrong. If you ignore the messages your body is sending you, just keep going and hope it will somehow take care of itself, you're in for a rude awakening.
Everything that happens in your body has a CAUSE. I'm convinced that if more doctors were genuine detectives, we'd have a lot fewer sick people. Unfortunately, most of them just treat symptoms. They don't take the time to dig long enough to find the cause.
For example - one of my worst problems for years has been low or no adrenal function. When one doctor first noticed it, he said 'let's put you on this drug which makes the same thing your adrenal gland makes (cortisol) and then your adrenal gland can rest and you'll recover.'
I don't think so.
I'm still on that drug 7 years later and my adrenal function is worse now than it was when I started!
What he should have done was asked, WHY is your adrenal function low? Maybe it's because your body is overly toxic, thus making the adrenals work harder. Or maybe it's because there's a virus settled in your adrenal gland so it can't do it's normal function. (These are the conclusions I have come to after years, and with the help of a doctor who did finally diagnose me with a virus in my adrenal gland.)

There is a CAUSE for every ache, pain, symptom, and malfunction in your body. What can you do?
1) Write down every problem, complaint, or symptom you have.
2) Pray over that list. Ask God to show you what the cause is. It could be something you're eating (sugar is a known inflamatory, preservatives are toxic chemcials, etc.), or something in your environment (fresh paint, mercury detnal fillings, etc.), or an unhealthy habit (not enough sleep, not enough water, etc.), or even something else.
3) Then ask God to lead you to the answers that you need to help restore your health in HIS timing.

If you fit in group #1, please listen to me before it's too late (and you end up in group #2). - It's time to take responsibility for your own health, your own body, the temple of the Holy Spirit living in YOU! Please don't be clueless, and please don't live in denial. Please take better care of your body than you do of your car. =)


Now, for those people in group #2 - I feel your pain, my heart aches for you. But please hear this: There IS HOPE! I know what it's like to think no one would ever figure out what was wrong with me or how to treat my health problems effectively. But God, in His mercy, has brought me some answers at last!
This month I'll be sharing information about the things that are helping me, what I call the 4 D's:
-detoxify
-debug
-desensitize
-destress

No matter how hopeless you feel, there are answers out there. There are Christian doctors, researchers, and health care providers who are working to spread information and provide treatments that work. So please don't give up!
You can do the same things I suggested for group #1:
1) Make a list of your problems (or at least the most pressing ones).
2) Pray over the list asking God to lead you to the underlying causes.
3) Keep asking Him to lead you to the answers you need.


I really hope to see many people in group #1 finding answers, working hard for their bodies, and seeing their health improved. And I long to see those in group #2 finding the help they need and being delivered from the agony of life with E.I.
I pray by God's grace, that I will see these things happening soon.
(Then I can find a new 'soapbox.') =)

Thank you for listening.
I'm stepping down now. =)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Toxic Life

Here's a little glimpse of what it's like to live a 'toxic life.' And yes, these all come from personal experience...believe it or not.


You know you're detoxing...

- when you drink a gallon of water a day and still feel thirsty

- when you cry and the tears burn your face and eyes (my mom always says crying is good because it gets the toxins out)

- when your mom coughs or sneezes when she's around you

- when your sweat smells like perfume (or pesticide, or whatever your detoxing)

- when your hair feels like straw no matter how often you wash it with baking soda

- when unsweetened chocolate tastes really good to you (apparently organic, dark chocolate is good for the liver)

- when you have a recurring dream about pulling a sticky substance out of your teeth and gums

- when a detox bath is the highlight of your day (hot water and minerals, or epson salts, etc.)

- when you actually look forward to going to physical therapy

- when you start adding "de" to all your words - desensitize, destress, declutter, debrief, defocus.... (well, maybe I'm not that far gone, yet...) =)


Yep, it's a toxic life.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 "Fragrance-Free" Challenge!

(Ok, so technically this is a "fragrance-less" Challenge, since "fragrance-free" is next to impossible. Still, every little bit helps, so I hope you'll take the Challenge!)

The new year is here! Time when people make resolutions, set goals, etc. In that spirit of examination and change, I'm daring ALL of you out there to consider my "Fragrance-Free" Challenge.

Fragrances (a.k.a. chemicals/toxins) are everywhere in our environment now. We've become desensitized to the point where we can't even smell natural scents anymore. (Some products even contain chemicals which harm the nerves in the nose, thus damaging your sense of smell.) No doubt about it, it's time to De-Fragrance!

Some benefits of participating in this Challenge are:
1) You'll gain a better understanding of what life is like for people with E.I. and hopefully increase in empathy and compassion for them.
2) You'll become more aware of just how "fragrantly complicated" your life is and possibly find ways to simply - as well as to SAVE money! (who doesn't want to do that these days?)
3) You'll help reduce the amount of toxins in our environment by using less of them personally.

So now that you see the wonderful benefits, get ready! There are 3 different levels of this Challenge: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Pick the one that best works for you, but be BRAVE! =) Trying something different isn't easy, but can be very rewarding.


Beginner - Set aside 3 days in a row when you will not use ANY of the following products:
1) perfume/cologne
2) fabric softener (liquid or dryer sheets)
3) scented candles, plug-ins, sprays, or air fresheners

If you add up how much money you spend on these products alone, you'll find you could save a LOT by simply not using them anymore. You'll also be kind to any people around you who may have sensitivies or allergies to these 'fragrant' chemicals.


Intermediate - Set aside 4 days in a row when you will not use ANY of the following products:
1) the three things listed above - perfume/cologne, fabric softener, scented candles, etc.
2) hairspray, body spray, and scented lotions
3) hand sanitizer or clorox wipes
4) lysol or pledge type sprays, windex, or other strong chemical cleaners
(in place of these cleaning supplies you can use baking soda or Heinz vinegar--NOTE: other brands of vinegar may be made with petroleum products, thus making them toxic. Heinz is recognized as natural and safe.)

You'll be surprised not only at how many products in your hosue are "fragrant" but also loaded with chemicals and thus toxic to the body. Changing your household products to natural and safe alternatives will save money and help protect your family's health.


Advanced - Set aside 5 days in a row when you will make the following changes:
1) Do not use ANY of the things listed above - #1-4 of the Intermediate Challenge
2) Use baking soda to wash hands, dishes, and laundry instead of liquid or scented soaps (yes, baking soda is safe for washing machines and dishwashers)
3) Use baking soda or a natural kind of deoderant (you can find them at any health food store) instead of your normal brand, and use baking soda or a natural substitue (such as Magic Botanicals) instead of your normal shampoo and conditioner.

If you're brave enough to take this Challenge, then you'll be close to experiencing what my life is like on a daily basis. Once you start to pay attention you'll be shocked by just how many everyday products are filled with chemical fragrances and toxic substances.


I hope you'll be brave enough to take this Challenge!
For all those who do - please let me know how it goes and what you learn from the experience. And thank you for being willing to step into my world in this way.

May 2010 be a year of greater health, less toxins, and more joy in Jesus!
God bless,
-Joanna