Everything Causes Cancer!
This was my daughter’s response to a recent email that was circulating warning us against the dangers lurking in hot cars (and I mean temperature not style).
An unhealthy situation created by heated automobile plastic like dashboards, seats, a/c ducts and ANY other plastic objects added to or left in your car (water bottles)- ALL emit benzene, a petrochemical, a natural component of crude oil and a carcinogen, which we know, is a cancer causing toxin. Benzene poisons your bones, causes aplastic anemia and reduces white blood cells. Prolonged exposure can affect your liver and kidneys, cause leukemia and increase the risk of some cancers. It can also cause miscarriages in pregnant females.
The acceptable indoor Benzene level is: 50mg per sq.ft.
A car parked indoors with closed windows will contain 400-800 mg of Benzene.
However, in a car parked outdoors, in the sun, at a temperature above 60 degrees F
the Benzene level goes up to 2000-4000 mgs. 40 times the acceptable level!
What should you do before getting in the car?
The email advises to: “Take the time to observe the smell of heated plastic in your car, when you open it, and BEFORE you start it up”. I would skip this part. If you’re smelling the fumes, it means you are breathing them in. Not necessary. Counterproductive.
The email informs us that car manuals advise rolling down the windows to let out all the hot air before turning on the A/C. Makes perfect sense. And “It’s never too late to make positive changes”. I say be proactive. That’s why it’s so important to arm yourself with the facts and to, honestly- use common sense. Because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there and that it won’t hurt you. We are bombarded with potential carcinogens and toxins everyday, especially if we're living the urban life.
We joke that we live in our cars and depending on where you live, it’s basically true. Sometimes we are running in and out of our auto, which heightens this situation, especially if you are like me. We drive our kids to school and open the car. Often if we are running late everyone piles in before we have ‘cleared the air’. I pull out of the driveway as soon as all the seat belts are clicked into place. If I’m off from work, I’ll drive back home eat some breakfast, while the car is sitting in the sun, because my neighbor’s relative has already taken up the entire (and only) space in front of my house where there is shade! A couple hours later I run out and the car is heated up once more.
I run to Whole Foods for some ‘organic’ produce and gluten free 7 grain bread. Guess what- all the parking spots in the shade are taken! This scenario can go on numerous times during the day for many of us who are ‘coming and going’.
So the good advice here is:
Next we’ll look at what else helps us to combat carcinogens like benzene. We know we can’t avoid them all, especially after catastrophic events like oil spills.
So what can we do ourselves while the government argues over regulations?
What do you do to protect yourself and precious family?
What do you tell your children when they say, "Everything Causes Cancer"!
Feeling anxious and frenzied?
Okay what did you have for breakfast?
The usual- a cup of Joe and a Bountiful Blueberry Muffin from Starbucks on your run to the office. You skipped lunch to prepare for a meeting and substituted it with mini snicker bars in the reception area. Finally, dinner is delayed due to a deadline you needed to meet before leaving the office for the day- vending machine here we come- kettle chips and a diet coke. At the station you grabbed an energy drink to give you the extra pump needed for the long commute home where you catch up on personal emails and texts. Then you toss and turn into the wee hours.
No wonder you’re feeling stressed both physically and mentally. You’re not feeding your brain and nervous system the nourishment it needs to feel balanced, normalized. Actually you’re zapping it with caffeine and sugar.
Let’s start with a dietary make over. How you begin your morning has a huge impact on your mood and performance throughout the day. If you’re in a rush don’t worry this breakfast is quick and packs a nutritional punch:
A quick healthy breakfast to start your day anxiety free:
1-2 scoops amino acid rich protein powder
1 TBS cold pressed chia seed or flax oil
1/4 cup blueberries & 1/4 cup red raspberries (frozen or fresh)
1 cup vanilla or original almond milk
1 tsp. maca root powder
By the way, your healthy low fat blueberry muffin from Starbucks is a nutritional nightmare for your nervous and endocrine systems. You feel full but who wouldn’t eating 430 calories.
1 muffin (135g) Calories: 430 Total fat: 2.5 g Sodium: 540 mg Total Carbs: 98g Sugars: 57g Protein: 6g
Mixed Green Salad tossed in olive oil/balsamic vinegrette dressing
Grilled Chicken or Sesame Tofu or grilled Salmon
Optional salad garnishings: raw walnut pieces and dried cranberries
Iced Green Tea
Roast turkey breast with tamari herb gravy
Or Braised Trout with lime dill sauce
Steamed kale with diced beets, garlic, carrots & red onion
Tri color quinoa & lentil medley
Sprinkling of nutritional yeast on vegetables & grains
Blueberry-Peach gluten-free cobbler with toasted almonds
Decaffeinated Green Tea or Sparkling lime water
Functional Medicine Clinicians generally recommend supplementing with 50mgs of 5-hydroxy tryptophan 30 minutes before bedtime. This is an easily digested form of the essential amino acid tryptophan that increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps with sleep and relaxation.
Your calcium and magnesium should be supplemented at bedtime. They are relaxing minerals and also they are best absorbed during the evening hours. Herbal teas that include chamomile, spearmint and valerian often soothe and calm before bed. Valerian contains chemical compounds, called valepotriates, which may offer sedative benefits that help you fall asleep.
On weekends take a hot bath with lavender salts or oils. During the week have a lavender sachet near your pillow to calm and soothe.
In a nutshell: The foods you need to focus on to optimize neurological health and relieve stress and anxiety are:
Several years ago at a vegan gathering where Victoria Moran was eloquently speaking about her book, “The Main Street Vegan”, she mentioned oil pulling. I was not familiar with this ancient Ayurvedic practice. The method was quickly discussed and Victoria shared that it whitened her teeth. Immediately following this lecture, I researched this further so I could try it (always an eager guinea pig) and share it with my audience. So after several years of faithful oil pulling, I'm pleased to share that it definitely makes my mouth feel fresher. Weird right-you'd think swishing oil in your mouth would feel slimy and gross. It doesn't. I actually feel like the oil IS pulling bacteria, plaque and lodged food particles out of my mouth.
CARE TO JOIN ME?
Here’s what to do:
*One man's Wheat is another man's Poison
If you are following a gluten-free diet and still not feeling well, you may need to eliminate all grains. Thankfully there are food companies hip to this and recipe books to help as well. In her book, “Going Against The Grain”, Melissa Diane Smith makes a sharp statement, “Grains may seem the staff of life, but they’re really scythes that insidiously whittle away most people’s health.”
Included in her list of health problems associated with our pasta infused diets are:
Today we are hearing a lot about inflammation being the underlying cause of disease. We are not just what we eat, but more importantly what we digest and assimilate. If grains are causing irritation and gut inflammation they are contributing to ill health. After partially digested food compounds pass through a compromised intestinal lining into the bloodstream and to tissues, they cause irritation and inflammation.
*Testing Negative for Celiac and wheat but....
If you’ve had allergy tests done and they came out negative for foods you know give you a problem, don’t be discouraged or duped by these limited results. Dr Ronald Hoffman eloquently states, “The more sophisticated belief that it is not individual foods themselves but the byproducts of ingestion of certain foods that cause intestinal problems is fast replacing the concept of food allergy”. You can test negative for celiac disease, but still be gluten intolerant. In my personal case history, I tested negative for celiac disease but I am extremely gluten intolerant and allergic to wheat. I have gastrointestinal distress and upper respiratory symptoms including an immediate irritated throat and cough.
It almost sounds like heresy to promote the elimination of grains especially in the USA where we have the wheat belt and our patriotic ‘amber waves of grain’.
The USDA food pyramid guidelines make grains the most important food group and suggests intake of 6-11 servings of grains per day. Grains however are relatively new with their introduction 10,000 years ago during the Agricultural Revolution. The Paleolithic diet that predates agriculture supports a low grain diet and purports the use of nut and bean flours in modern recipes as substitutes. “Even if you believe that Paleolithic people ate a mostly plant-based diet, Smith contends, “The important thing to understand is that their diet contained virtually no grains.” The carbohydrates in our hunter-gatherer ancestor’s diet came entirely from unrefined sources, keeping their blood sugar levels within normal range. With the introduction of grains, especially flour products came increased rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
*Specific Carbohydrate Diet
The original celiac diet prescribed by Dr. Sidney Haas from New York’s Columbia University in the 1920’s was the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. This dietary regimen omitted all grains and some complex carbohydrates like potatoes and milk. Unfortunately, by the 1960’s the less restrictive gluten free diet took center stage and became the official diet for celiacs. However, a 2002 study conducted at the Mayo Clinic and published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that 18 % of participants with celiac disease were completely unresponsive to the gluten-free diet. According to Elaine Gottschall author of “Breaking The Vicious Cycle”, the damaged celiac gut can’t digest certain carbohydrates including grains. The undigested carbohydrates lead to fermentation in the intestines causing the accumulation of harmful bacteria and further intestinal damage and diarrhea. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet has yielded very positive results for those also suffering from Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowl disease. According to functional medicine doctors some of the hard to treat symptoms of autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis are responding positively to a lower carbohydrate and grain-free dietary protocol. The immune system becomes healthier and less reactive as intestinal toxicity decreases and intestinal health increases. There is a definite and measurable cause and effect.
*Cookbooks & Products
Today there are approximately 375 million vegetarians worldwide.
Many people label themselves as vegetarians, yet their overall food intake may be somewhat different. This is due to the fact that the term ‘vegetarian’ represents various types of diets. These include:
There are numerous myths surrounding vegetarianism. The most popular misconceptions deal with proper protein intake and vitamin B12 deficiency. Our protein requirements are based on our need for 23 different amino acids. Presently nine are recognized as being essential. These amino acids are: valine, isoleucine, leucine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, phenylalanine, lysine and histidine (essential in the diets of developing children).
How Much Protein do You need?
Our protein needs are easily satisfied by plant foods. In order to insure sufficient intake, some vegetarians follow the ancient practice of protein complementation. Other cultures, especially in the East where meat is a luxury item or prohibited for religious beliefs, have been implementing this technique for centuries. This concept alleviates the protein inadequacies of many plant foods due to their ‘limiting amino acids’. For example, if a food contains 90% of all 9 essential amino acids, but only 50% of tryptophan, then the total utilization of this protein will be limited to 50%. However, when foods are combined to complement such amino acid limitations, the quality of the protein food is substantially enhanced. Two or more plant foods eaten together can equal or far surpass the protein quality of beef. Also plant foods are more easily digested than animal foods. A cup of rice remains in the gut for approximately 1-2 hours after ingestion, whereas a piece of steak with saturated fat and cholesterol lingers for as long as six hours. Nutrition researchers are now agreeing that most Americans get too much protein in their diets. Even many vegetarians are consuming greater than desirable amounts for optimum health and wellbeing.
Less Is More!
There are very strong links between high protein diets and many chronic degenerative diseases. These include: osteoporosis, an imbalance due to the demineralization of calcium from the bones, which is higher among postmenopausal women; kidney disease; various forms of arthritis including gout; arteriosclerosis and cancer. Animal protein in particular is associated with the increase in breast and colon cancer in the United States.
The average American is consuming approximately 100 grams of protein per day; nearly doubling the generous amount recommended by the ‘Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council’. In light of all the recent scientific findings, people should clearly be directing their concerns to lowering their protein intake instead of worrying about where to get more.
In his groundbreaking book, "The China Study", T. Colin Campbell, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, reports the connection between a high animal protein diet and diseases like cancer and diabetes.
He emphasizes a plant-based diet for vibrant health and longevity. The information in this book, based on a 40 year career of studying the effects of meat consumption on the health of rats and humans, is eye opening and a must read.
Another fallacy about vegetarianism is the scare that those who follow its doctrine will eventually fall prey to pernicious anemia. This popular view is based on the notion that only animal products supply us with vitamin B12. However, there are various adequate plant sources of this nutrient. Fermented soy foods such as tempeh contain nearly 15 mcgs. in a 100 gram serving. This provides almost 500% of the recommended dietary allowance for B12. The micro algae spirulina supplies 255 mcgs. per 100 grams and the same amount of the seaweed, kombu, contains 27 mcgs. Also if a person is following a lacto-vegetarian diet, they will be deriving B12 from milk products. If eggs are included this is an additional source.
If you are gluten intolerant or need to omit all grains from your diet, there is still a plethera of plant-based foods to choose from including nut & seed butters and flours.
What's your reason for choosing vegetarianism?
Each individual has his or her own personal reasons for choosing the vegetarian cuisine. Be rest assured that a high quality nutritious non-flesh diet is healthy, economical, ecologically sound, humane and last but not least an incredibly delicious style of eating.
© Copyright 2017 Mary Ann Reidy, M.S
Published in “Growth Magazine”
"The China Study" T. Colin Campbell, PhD & Thomas M. Campbell II M.D.
2006 Benbella Books.
As cofactors of enzymes, vitamins help:
Despite all this attention from the scientific community and the media, there is still much controversy and confusion surrounding vitamins. In part, the difficulty with understanding the ABC’s of these nutrients has been the necessity of wading through all the information to separate fact from fiction. Such an exercise forces many questions to surface-
Ideally we should be able to obtain all the nutrients we need from our daily food intake. However, the American diet has dramatically changed over the last 100 years. Our great-grandparents would not recognize most of the fast convenience foods this current space-age society depends on for ‘nourishment’. That’s because our ancestors ate wholesome foods that were organically raised on local farms without the aid of chemical fertilizers. Their fresh fruits and vegetables were grown without poisonous sprays, and meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products were obtained from their own healthy farm animals. They ate little processed or refined products and these natural unadulterated foods contained more of the essential nutrients, including vitamins and less sugar, hydrogenated fats and salt, than their present counterparts.
Modern agricultural practices and methods of food processing and preparation have greatly altered the nutritional value of our food supply. Before we can depend on a tomato or orange to provide us with the vitamins that official government food tables claim they contain, the following must be considered:
Even though humans need the same nutrients to stay healthy, the amount of vitamins required by each person may vary.
It depends on your
Recent nutritional surveys report that a substantial percentage of senior citizens are not getting adequate levels of some important nutrients in their diets including:
In the two-week period before menstruation many women find relief from such symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) as anxiety, water retention, and craving for sweets, by taking additional B-Complex vitamins, particularly vitamin B6.
Sports nutritionists highlight vitamins as an important asset to improved athletic performances and endurance. In his best seller, Eat To Win, Dr. Robert Haas states, “Recent nutritional research has shown that active people require specific nutrients in amounts that cannot be replenished by diet alone.” These include the powerful antioxidants vitamins A, C and E, which help protect cells from the damaging effects of “free radicals” (high energy molecules) created when the body’s oxygen-processing capacities are increased through exercise. As a result, these vitamins (along with the trace mineral selenium) help keep the cells alive longer, thereby slowing down the aging process. Also the B-Complex vitamins are essential in the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose, which the body “burns” as fuel for energy.
Many essential nutrients are depleted by:
More and more concerned individuals are routinely taking food supplements as an insurance policy against environmental stressors. The ominous hi-tech pollution we’ve created pulsates throughout our daily work and play. Much of this detriment is unavoidable, dictating counterattack by those concerned.
More is not necessarily merrier. Vitamins can become toxic and do more harm than good when taken in high doses. For example, hypervitaminosis A (vitamin A toxicity) can create the same symptoms of a vitamin A deficiency state including dry, itchy skin, hair loss, visual changes and headaches. It has long been believed that only the fat-soluble vitamins: A, E, D and K, which accumulate and are stored in the fat cells, could be harmful in large doses. However, there are clinical reports of toxicity from water-soluble vitamins, such as thiamin (vitamin B1) and vitamin B6, ranging from mild side effects to significant potential for harm. It’s important to remember that your body has a limit to how much of any vitamin it actually needs to be healthy.
Vitamins that are harmless to the healthy may be contraindicated for those with medical problems like aplastic anemia, diabetes, kidney stones, gout, peptic ulcer, malabsorption syndrome, hemorrhage and hypertension. Supervision by a health practitioner knowledgeable in the field of nutrition is advised.
While each vitamin has its own specific job to perform in the body, none work alone. Let’s look at a couple examples. For those who have a tendency towards iron anemia, additional Vitamin C may do the trick because it enhances iron absorption. Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of the mineral, calcium. An inadequate supply of this fat-soluble vitamin can weaken our bones and lead to a condition known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Consequently, an adequate supply of either mineral won’t help much unless we can absorb it. We aren’t just what we eat, we are more importantly what we absorb and metabolize.
Some nutrients are not so harmonious. Inorganic iron destroys vitamin E; therefore a multiple vitamin-mineral formula containing these two nutrients is not advisable. For best results, they should be taken at least 8 hours apart.
Over the counter remedies as well as prescription drugs can interfere with the absorption and excretion of vitamins. Aspirin, which is all too often popped in the mouth at the first sign of an ache or pain, can block vitamin C from entering the blood and also affects folic acid utilization. L-dopa used in Parkinson’s disease and certain diuretic drugs can cause vitamin B6 deficiency. Mineral oil, commonly used as a laxative, interferes with the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins.
Scientists originally discovered vitamins while examining deficiency diseases. First they pinpointed what foods could cure these diseases, and then they isolated the chemicals in the foods that were the sources of the cure. There are approximately 20 known vitamins to date. The National Research Council’s Food and Nutrition Board established the Recommended Dietary Allowance known as the RDA to set nutritional standards and guidelines for the general public.
Ideally if we are healthy and consuming 100% of the RDA for all vitamins, we will not exhibit any clinical deficiency symptoms, such as scurvy, pellagra or beri-beri. However, this approach only guarantees a minimal level of nutrition rather than an optimal degree. If 60 mgs. Of vitamin C for the average adult will stave off scurvy, what will 100 or even 500 mgs. do?
Vitamins are absorbed best when they are taken with other foods and minerals. The best time is after meals and as evenly throughout the day as possible.
The three leading killers - heart disease, cancer and diabetes have been linked to our diet. The typical American cuisine replete with refined packaged, processed and chemically treated foods needs to be challenged and cleaned up before it is dependable as a safeguard against disease.
Proper nutrition, like any other aspect of a health-building program, must be sensibly approached. It’s important to remember that no two people are identical. A high quality meal plan filled with wholesome fresh foods, and a supplement program designed specifically for your biochemical needs, is the best path for optimizing your health.
© Copyright 2017 Mary Ann Reidy, M.S
It’s a balancing act I thought worth undertaking to lessen the germ load on our hands. Germs, the microorganisms not visible by the human eye, yet present everywhere. Viruses and bacteria are lurking in broad daylight just waiting to infect their next host. But how simply does this infection take hold?
When you grab onto a railing, shopping cart or shake someone’s hand, you transfer these germs onto your hands. If they merely stayed on the skin of your hands, they would pose no threat to your health. You potentially turn harmless germs into disease causing germs every time you TOUCH YOUR FACE! When you rub your eyes, stick your fingers in your mouth or venture into a nostril, you are transferring these germs into an environment where they can multiply, thrive and migrate to the mucus membrane linings of your throat, chest and intestinal tract.
Hand washing is still one of the best defenses against communicable diseases. However it’s not always practical and even in this day and age of pocket-sized antibacterial gels and hand wipes we can’t eliminate them all, all of the time. With germ transmittal, it’s equally important what you don’t do- DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE!
For many touching their face is an unconscious habit. Like any habit, the way to eliminate it is to become aware of how often you do it. Are you a nail biter? Do you rub your eyes often, play with facial piercings, pop zits? It’s estimated that we touch our face 16 times an hour giving these bugs approximately 400 opportunities a day to enter our bodies and make us sick.
A group of researchers suggests there’s a part of the prevention equation that public health folks don’t stress often enough: If you kept your fingers out of your mouth-nose-eyes, you’d lower your risk of infection. Researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center stated that the disease prevention message focuses mostly on hand washing and doesn’t emphasize how you can lower your risk of self-inoculating. They suggest public health campaigns should also teach people about how they infect themselves by touching their mucus membranes, so they become more aware of the role these behaviors could play in acquiring infection.
Dr. Jody Lanard, a risk communications expert based in Princeton, N.J. says the idea of telling people about self-inoculation makes sense because there are times when folks simply can’t wash their hands. The frequency of the commuter touching a germ-laden item and then their face outnumbers their access to hand washing.
The author of a book on hygiene says public health messages about handwashing and self-inoculation should be synergistic. “I don’t think it’s an either-or thing,” says Dr. Bonnie Henry, author of Soap and Water and Common Sense. She adds, “I always say ‘It’s not having bugs on your hands that’s the issue. It’s when you go to eat your sandwich or rub your eye. That’s when you’re going to get sick from it.’ So I think the two messages have to go together.”
Some health professionals contend that not only are we not washing our hands often enough, we are not washing our hands correctly. Dr. Stephen Dahmer MD, from the Continuum Center for Health and Healing recommends using antibacterial soap, rubbing your hands together vigorously for 20 seconds, scrubbing up to the wrist, including the back of the hands, between the fingers, and beneath the nails. In a public bathroom, make it a habit to grab a paper towel to shut off the faucet or using your elbow if you have a shirt on that covers it. When exiting the bathroom use a paper towel again to open the door and toss it into the waste paper basket as you leave. There’s no sense bothering to wash your hands if you wind up getting more potentially lethal germs on your hands in the process. You may be there to wash up but the patron opening the door before you may have poor hygiene. Even in your own home shared with family members, it’s best not to reuse a hand towel.
Become conscious of your daily behaviors that include:
The next time a bug latches onto your lungs or digestive lining, before you blame your cold on the sneezing patron sitting next to you at Starbucks or the local Chinese restaurant for your stomach bug, you should consider that you may be the prime cause of your infection through self inoculation.