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The Proactive Healthcare Blog

HEALTH TIPS

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To avoid toxin exposure and to decrease your present body burden use the following checklist to choose safer alternatives for a less toxic lifestyle.   

IN THE KITCHEN

Avoid non-stick cookware.  Use cast-iron, stainless steel, or glass whenever possible.

Use glass food storage containers. Never microwave food in plastic containers and avoid putting hot food into plastic (including take-out containers – when possible, bring your own re-usable containers with you)

Filter your water. This includes drinking and bathing water. Choose a reverse osmosis or activated carbon block filter sold at most water stores and Costco. If your budget allows, purchase a filter for the entire home.

Use a stainless steel or glass water bottle. Avoid plastic bottled water and reusable plastic bottles.

Avoid Bisphenol A (BPA) found in canned foods.  Most food cans (including liquid infant formula) are lined with BPA, which leaches into the food.  Cook with fresh or frozen ingredients whenever possible. Buy grocery items in glass bottles if available or choose Eden Organic canned foods, a company who provides cans free of BPA.

Use Non-toxic Cleaners – (nothing with a poison sign) Good brands include Seventh Generation, Nature Clean and Ecover.

Avoid the dirty dozen. Check EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides to be sure you buy organic when pesticide residues are highest. The dirty dozen include: peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarine, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots, pears

Avoid all high-mercury fish. High mercury fish includes: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tuna, orange roughy, marlin, Chilean bass, lobster, halibut, and snapper. Low mercury fish includes: Clam, Ocean perch, Alaskan salmon, tilapia, founder, sole, catfish, Sardines, herring, and anchovies.Do not eat Farmed or Atlantic Salmon. Choose wild Alaskan salmon when available.  Avoid all fish from the great lakes.

Choose organic meat and dairy.  This is especially important for butter and milk.

Cut out the sugar. Sugar reduces the ability of your liver to clear toxic compounds out of the blood stream, in addition to the many other harmful effects it has on your body.

Eat foods that support daily detoxification.  Insert foods: Consume broccoli and other brassica vegetables, drink green tea and include brown rice bran fiber, and ground flax seed in your diet.

IN THE BATHROOM

Avoid the use of air fresheners. They contain a number of toxic chemicals that contaminate the air you breathe.  Try pure essential oils instead.

Choose non toxic personal care products. Avoid products that include “fragrance,” or “parfum”.  Visit www.cosmeticdatabase.com to know which products are best.

Choose natural toothpaste. Avoid fluoride for kids under 2 and teach older kids to rinse and spit; fluoride can be toxic if swallowed. Also, choose a paste without triclosan – you’ll see it on the ingredient list.

Avoid anti-bacterial hand soap. Triclosan is toxic and may be labeled as: Microban, Biofresh, Irgasan DP 300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifermolum, 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol.

Use a fabric shower curtain. Avoid vinyl or plastic shower curtains. Choose fabric, hemp or organic cotton.

Use fewer personal care products. This will reduce the number of chemicals you are exposed to on a daily basis. Choose non-toxic personal care products where possible. Refer to www.cosmeticdatabase.com

IN THE LAUNDRY & CLEANING CLOSET

Choose green and non-toxic cleaning agents.  Most products will not have all ingredients listed – call the manufacturer for a complete ingredient list. Support the companies that do disclose all ingredients.

Use fewer cleaning products. Most homes can be safely cleaned with a few non-toxic ingredients such as vinegar (it’s anti-bacterial), baking soda, water, microfiber mops and cloths – and some elbow grease!

Avoid scented laundry products. Use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. Avoid fabric softener, and chlorine bleach.  Use non-toxic laundry soap. Borax works well.

Avoid Dry Cleaning.  If you do dry-clean, allow the garment to air outside of the home for one week or at the very least your garage or room least visited by the family.

THE REST OF THE HOUSE

Avoid fire retardants. Foam products (like stuffed furniture and mattresses) are often treated with toxic fire retardants, so keep them well-covered. Ask whether a product is treated before you buy and choose naturally fire-resistant materials like hemp, cotton and wool, when possible. Buy electronics that are free of fire retardants.

Consider replacing your carpet. If your budget allows, opt for tile or stone.

Avoid StainMaster or ScotchGuard. Don’t “protect” your fabrics and carpets with sprayed on chemical coatings – simply clean spills quickly.

Be cautious with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) These bulbs contain mercury and should be handled and disposed of with care. Use them where there’s no danger of breaking near children and clean up broken bulbs quickly and safely.

Do not use pesticides or insecticides. Try non-toxic alternatives first. Organic gardening is healthier for kids and pets, since they spend more time closer to the ground.  Use non toxic pest control. Do it yourself (www.beyondpesticides.org) or hire a professional: www.beyondpesticides.org/safetysource/index.htm.Note that it is common practice for mainstream companies to advertise “organic” or “green” care options when they use an organic fertilizer but will still use pesticides and pre-emergent poisons. Don’t be deceived! For how to question providers see www.beyondpesticides.org/lawn/factsheets. Or do it yourself with some easy lawn tips:www.toxicsinfo.org/Lawn/HealthyBeautifulLawn

Do you have a wood deck, picnic table or playground set? Those made before 2005 likely contain arsenic. Test to confirm and either replace with safer wood or reduce your exposure by sealing it, replacing high-use areas and washing hands after touching and especially before eating.

Check your kid’s toys. Top contaminants to avoid are: lead paint, play make-up, cadmium and lead in play jewelry, and phthalates in soft plastics (like teethers and rubber duckies). Avoid PVC, polycarbonate/PC, #7 and #3 recycling code). Avoid dollar store toys and toys from kiddies’ meals. Use only phthalate-free teether, rattles and PVC-free toys. Choosing non-toxic toys for young kids is especially important because so many end up in their mouths. Check out www.healthytoys.org

Invest in a good quality air purifier.  The best on the market are IQAir, Austin Air and Blue Air. Make sure you get one with enough CFM (cubic feet of air purified each minute) to clear the air in the room at least once every 30 minutes.

Avoid Cigarette smoke. Do not allow anyone to smoke indoors. Avoid any second hand smoke.

Replace furnace filters regularly. Replace every 6 wks with high quality pleated filters (rated MERV 7-9).

Use a HEPA vacuum cleaner.  This will effectively remove dust and clean the air in your home.

Have your ductwork cleaned.  This is most important if you’ve moved into a new home. This will reduce the amount of toxic dust.

Take your shoes off.  Do not wear outdoor shoes indoors.

Improve air quality with plants such as:

·         Heart leaf philodendron (philodendron scandens)

·         Elephant ear philodendron (philodendron domesticum)

·         Green spider plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)

·         Lacy tree philodendron (philodendron selloum)

·         Aloe vera

·         Golden pothos (epipremnum aureum)

·         Chinese evergreen Aglaonema Modestum

·         Mini-schefflera (bassaia arboricola)

·         Peperomia (peperomia obtusifolia)

·         Peace lily Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa”

·         Snake plant (sansevieria traifasciata)

·         English Ivy (Hedera Helix)

·         Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens)

·         Chrysanthemum

·         Dracaena (Janet Craig, Marginata, Mass cane/Corn Plant, Warneckii)

·         Boston fern (Nephrolepsis Exaltata)

Foods to stock your kitchen with

As mentioned above, you will have fewer toxins circulating in your body if you avoid them in your diet and in your home air. But we can also reduce our toxic load very nicely within just a couple of years by making dietary changes that increase the amount of toxins going into our toilets every day. The following foods have all been documented in medical research to accomplish this:

Rice bran fiber (found naturally in brown rice). It’s low cost, yummy, and easy to make and consume. Multiple studies have shown that brown rice fiber that show increases the amount of very nasty toxins moving into the toilet. If you don’t want to eat brown rice daily, then begin taking a fiber product with rice bran fiber in it.

Green veggies. The darker the green color, the higher the chlorophyll content and the more toxins it will help to dump into the toilet.

Green tea. Drink three Venti-sized cups of green tea daily to boost the amount of toxins hitting the toilet.  So, by doing these very simple things—avoiding the most common toxin exposure and increasing the amount of toxic material leaving your body every day—you will soon tip the scales back towards greater health.

Resources

www.beyondpesticides.org

www.organiclandcare.net

www.safer-products.org

www.checnet.org

www.childrenvironment.org

www.ewg.org

www.lesstoxicguide.ca

www.cosmeticdatabase.com

References: UltraPrevention by Mark Hyman and Mark Liponis


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Because we are exposed to more toxins in the home then outside, we can be proactive by using natural cleaning alternatives to keep our homes safe and fresh. Remember that kids are more vulnerable to harsh cleaners and strong synthetic scents can really impact their neurological development.

MOLD & MILDEW PREVENTION FORMULA
Use this formula on shower stalls and curtains, the track between sliding glass doors, and other moist areas.
2 cups water
8-10 drops citrus seed extract
2 teaspoons tea tree essential oil
4 drops juniper essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray areas and surfaces well but do not rinse. Note: If you already have a buildup of mold or mildew, allow the spray to “rest” on the surface areas for a few hours. Wipe with a soft cloth, then re-spray the areas and let dry without rinsing.

SCOURING POWDERS & CLEANSERS
The following cleaners possess sanitizing and antibacterial qualities while offering a variety of herbal scents. You can make larger batches of these products and store them in plastic containers. (Large plastic spice jars with shaker tops work great for this purpose.)

Herbal Scouring Powder for Sinks
This powder rubs out grime while leaving a fresh, earthy scent. Make sure you rinse well to remove any residue.
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup dried sage leaves, ground
1/4 cup rosemary leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Combine all ingredients in a plastic container, preferably one with a shaker top. Shake well. Sprinkle a small amount of the powder into sink and scrub with a damp sponge or cloth. Rinse well with plain water.

Whitening Scouring Powder
The combination of borax and citrus peel will kill germs and remove stains.
1 cup baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/8 cup borax
¼ cup grated lemon, orange, or grapefruit peel

Combine all ingredients in a plastic container, preferably one with a shaker top. Shake well. Sprinkle a small amount of the powder into sink and scrub with a damp sponge or cloth. Rinse well with plain water.

Fizzy Bathroom Sink Cleaner
Kids love to watch the “volcanic” action that occurs after pouring the vinegar over the baking soda.You might even get your kids to clean the bathroom!
1/2 cup baking soda
6 drops lemon or lime essential oil
1/2 cup vinegar
Combine the baking soda and essential oil. Sprinkle into the sink; pour the vinegar on top. After the fizz settles, scrub clean with a damp cloth or sponge. Rinse clean.

SANITIZING THE TOILET
People think that the bowl itself is where the real “nasties” hide, but actually, it’s relatively clean. Most germs take refuge behind and under the seat. Since this is the part being handled most often, it needs careful and frequent sanitizing. There are some excellent bacteria busters offered here to do just that.

GERMS-be-gone toilet cleaner
This is an antibacterial spray cleaner especially formulated for cleaning the general surface area of the toilet and under and behind the seat.
2 cups water
1/4 cup liquid castile soap(Dr. Bronner’s is  great)
1 tablespoon tea tree essential oil
10 drops eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a plastic spray bottle and shake well. Spray on toilet surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

No-Scrub Toilet Bowl Cleaner
This is for toilet bowls that have an everlasting ring around them. (Like the kind you find in the bathroom of your vaca­tion cabin after six months of non-use.) You can employ this recipe just before going to bed; by morning, even the toughest of stains will have disappeared.
1 cup borax
1 cup vinegar
10 drops pine or lavender essential oil
5 drops lemon or lime essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a plastic bowl or bottle and pour all at once into the toilet bowl. Allow to sit overnight. In the morning, just flush!

MAKING NATURAL LAUNDRY SOAPS
These formulas don’t have any magical components that you can’t pronounce. Instead, the cleaning power of these soaps comes from combining clean, pure ingredients.

Basic Laundry Soap Liquid
The addition of glycerin and essential oil gives extra cleaning power while still being gentle on clothing.
1 ounce liquid castile soap
2 tablespoons glycerin
1 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda
2 cups warm water
10 drops essential oil of choice

Combine all ingredients in a heavy plastic con­tainer (don’t use plastic milk containers — they’re not heavy enough) and shake well before using. Use ¼ to ½ cup, depending on the size of the load and how dirty the clothes are.


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We make choices many times a day that either guide us towards or away from health. I am going to walk you through a typical day, and highlight the opportunities we have to make PROACTIVE choices.

Let’s start with the morning. How do you wake up? A jarring alarm clock can startle you out of sleep and trigger a stress response. We all know that stress is harmful, but it’s important to know that cortisol, your stress hormone slows down your bodies ability to detoxify, making you more vulnerable to the chemicals in our environments. In essence, the more stress hormones in your bloodstream, the more reactive you will be the the many chemicals you come into contact with daily. Try to wake to a gentle sound, that gets progressively louder or if possible, avoid using an alarm clock. Morning is also the best time of day to jot down your intentions for the day, how you want to feel, and your “to do” list. Planning to feel good help to keep your stress hormones down.

The first choice you encounter is what to drink first thing in the morning and your best bet is filtered water. Adding lemon to your water helps to stimulate bile flow, which promotes elimination. Adding mint can help wake you up. Ginger will help you settle any morning queasiness and help you digest breakfast. Or you can add fruit like berries, oranges or cucumber to add flavour and nutrients to the water. You simply cannot detoxify without enough water and not drinking enough is what makes so many of us struggle to excrete toxins. There is a very true saying out there: Dilution is the solution to pollution.

The next choice is what to eat for breakfast. Smoothie make an excellent choice because they are fast, portable and can be easily customized. This is important because what is good for some, is not good for all. For example, if you have hypothyroidism there is a limit to how much raw cruciferous veggies, like kale you should eat. For a hypothyroid patient, the kale would be best steamed so it doesn’t inhibit the thyroid gland. An even better green option would be parsley or  romaine lettuce. Smoothies taste sweeter with fruit, but if you are easily bloated and gassy you may be aggravated by apples, mangoes, pears, peaches and watermelon. Limit the fruit content of your smoothie and use organic berries whenever possible. If you are using a protein powder in your smoothie you want to beware of artificial sweeteners. Sucralose, aka Splenda is a hormone disruptor and aspartame can be very toxic to all of your cells, especially those of your brain. Make sure you add some good fat to your smoothie like flax oil, hemp oil, or avocado to help you absorb all of those nutrients. If smoothies aren’t your thing, find a way to eat veggies in the morning. There is nothing to say you can’t eat leftovers for breakfast. You can also use a greens powder in water if you struggle to eat veggies in the morning. My favourite is Raw Reserve by Amazing Grass.

Now it’s time to get ready for work. This is a very important choice because we absorb everything we put on our skin. Our beauty habits account for one of the greatest sources of toxins we come into contact with daily. David Suzuki has created a very important list called the Dirty Dozen Cosmetic Chemicals. Use this as your guide to safer products.
Your next choice comes one your way to work. What are you listening to? Driving in silence can help you prepare for the day by visualizing what you want to happen. Calm music can help reduce the cortisol raised by driving. If you have an air freshener, pull over and throw it out. Each breath brings more toxic fumes to your brain and into your bloodstream. There is an incredible amount of off gassing of toxic fumes that already occurs in the car, so it is best not to  add to it. Whenever possible, drive with the windows open. Even though Essex County air is not known for its freshness, it is still better than the off gassing from the car.

What are you breathing at work? Many offices and schools have windows that do not open. Indoor air is much more toxic than outdoor air. One simple way to improve your indoor air is to have peace lilies and garden mums nearby, which can filter the most variety of air pollution.

The next obvious fork in our life is what to eat for lunch. Is it possible that your lunch choice can actually protect you from heart disease, cancer, depression, anxiety or Alzheimer’s? If you are one of the up to 40% of people that have the MTHFR gene, then a salad with spinach, arugula, parsley, lentils really could improve your life. People with the MTHFR gene are unable to use synthetic folic acid to protect their DNA. That means they need to get naturally occurring folate from their foods or else they are at higher risk of mutations, along with imbalances in their neurotransmitters. Eating a salad is also not enough. People with this gene should also avoid synthetic folic acid which is found in prenatals, multis, B vitamins and even more ubiquitously in fortified foods like white flour, pasta, breads, nutrition bars as well as a lot of gluten free products. What’s interesting is that this synthetic type of folic acid can actually become toxic to this group of people. This is why whole foods are your best bet for nutrients and why you should always eat vegetables with every meal.

As the afternoon rolls on, most of us as faced with another big decision: what to snack on when we crave sugar. The first thing to do  is drink water because you are probably thirsty. If that doesn’t do the trick, grab a big dried fig. Figs help to bind up any toxins that are in your digestive tract. They help your liver break down the chemicals around us that mimic estrogen and put us at higher risk for breast cancer. They are also a great source of calcium and iron. If it’s chocolate you are craving, stick a piece a dark square or a few dark chocolate chips into the fig.
It’s now dinner time, another important choice in our day. What are you cooking on? If it’s teflon, get rid of it. The fumes teflon creates are toxic to your immune system and even worse for your kids. You can safely use all glass, stainless steel, cast iron (as long as you don’t have iron overload) and ceramic as long as it is not chipping.

So what do you throw in that healthy pan? We all need a fast option so it’s okay to take short cuts. The most important ingredients in your dinner are vegetables. When you build around that, it will always be healthy. One of my favourite “fast food” strategies is to use shredded cabbage. I buy it shredded to save time. It’s not a dirty dozen veggie so it doesn’t have to be organic. Shredded cabbage can be tossed in a salad, and it’s also great for adding bulk to a stir fry and makes a great substitute for noodles. Cabbage contains glucosinolates, a phytonutrient your body converts into cancer fighting compounds. It can protect you from H pylori, a common stomach infection that can cause ulcers. It is also has cholesterol lowering properties. In addition to stir-frying cabbage you should add crimini mushrooms. If you want to save time, get them sliced. What makes crimini mushrooms so special is that they are a surprising source of CLA, a fatty acid that is not just good for burning fat but also helps women with hormone dependent cancer to reduce the amount of dangerous estrogen the body makes. CLA is mostly found in animal foods like meat and dairy, so this makes it a  great vegetarian source for an important nutrient. They can also potentially provide B12, produced by the bacteria that grows on the them. B12 is also found primarily in animal foods. Adding in a can of lentils or chickpeas with some rosemary and garlic makes a super healthy, fast stir-fry.

As the day comes to a close, one of the last choices in our day is what to snack on after dinner. This is when most of us get derailed because our stress hormones have been running high all day causing our blood sugar to be all over the place. Instead of cookies, try eating a banana or apple with organic peanut butter and hemp seeds sprinkled on it. Hemp is a complete and very easy to digest protein. It is an excellent source of omega 3 fats, which is an essential nutrient to protect our cells from toxins. Organic peanuts have more antioxidants than carrots, beets and strawberries and it is those antioxidants that also protect our DNA from toxins. They are a great source of folate, protein and cancer fighting phytonutrients.

Lastly, it is time for bed. It is very important that you sleep in complete darkness so that melatonin, one of our bodies most potent anti-oxidants can be released. Melatonin can help keep cancer in check and it allows your hormones to balance and your body to heal.

The goal at the end of the day is to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to detoxify efficiently, while avoiding any unnecessary and harmful toxins to add to your toxic load. Tomorrow, you can get to do it all over again.


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As research continues to accumulate on genetics, what have become undeniably clear is that most chronic disease is preventable and greatly influenced by your lifestyle, including your nutritional status, sleep quality, exercise habits, stress levels, chemical and toxin exposure and attitude towards your life.

A Naturopathic Doctor can help you:

  • Identify deficiencies in your diet
  • Improve your digestion by modifying your diet and by suggesting nutrients that can improve how you absorb, assimilate and eliminate.
  • Obtain better body composition using a custom designed diet for your metabolism
  • Support your body’s natural healing abilities
  • Learn how to take better care of yourself and your family
  • Have the satisfaction of knowing you are in control of your health
  • Have a licensed professional guide you through your individualized treatment plan
  • Improve your detoxification capabilities
  • Age gracefully by being proactive in your health
  • Design a personalized treatment plan for conditions such as high blood pressure, PMS, menopause, fatigue, stress, pain and inflammation, brain fog and memory issues, elevated cholesterol, insomnia and sleep issues, imbalanced immune system, weight gain, skin issues, and anxiety and depression.

As a  Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Natasha understands that natural remedies are helpful for many conditions but in some cases prescription medication cannot be avoided. In this case,  Dr Natasha will determine if your medications are causing any nutrient deficiencies and help you manage your side effects.


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The understanding of “Food as Medicine” has always had its passionate advocates, and with the emergence of Epigenetics, cutting edge science is helping to explain the cellular effects food has on our bodies. For instance, we now know that fresh foods that are local, seasonal and organic can help reduce our risk of some forms of cancer. With this knowledge comes the opportunity to make nutritional choices that impact all of your cells and leave you feeling better, as well as choices that positively impact our community and local farmers. Veggie stir-fry anyone?

This prescription from the “farm”acy will give you the most health benefits for your effort.

•    Drink at least 2 litres of water daily. Add lemon juice to your water first thing in the morning to increase bile production. Bile is a natural laxative.
•    Try to consume 3 cups of green tea daily. Some studies show it can prevent breast cancer recurrence by up to 64%.
•    Add 2 tbsp of ground flaxseeds to your meals in smoothies, salads, soups, or mixed with veggies.
•    Include at least 1 portion/day of Cruciferous vegetables daily which include watercress, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, arugula, kohlrabi, radish, daikon, and Bok Choy. These assist your liver in detoxification.
•    Add veggies like spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, parsley or fresh mint to your smoothies.
•    Eat at least 1 organic apple a day.
•    Include 1 serving/day of sulphur rich foods such as cabbage, garlic, onions, and beans which also help liver function.
•    Eat 1/2 cup of beans like lentils, chickpeas, black beans, adzuki, mung, pinto or navy every day If you were ever stuck on a desert island, you would be lucky to have beans to eat because of their nutritional value.
•    Include glutathione-containing food such asparagus, avocados and walnuts. Glutathione is the most potent antioxidant in your liver.
•    Include antioxidant rich foods such as berries, grapes (always organic), beets, cooked tomatoes, pomegranate and organic green tea to prevent free radical damage.
•    Include liberal amounts of turmeric, cilantro and walnuts in your diet.
•    Eat a total of at least 3 cups of vegetables daily.
•    Limit coffee, alcohol, grapefruit juice, stomach acid blockers and antihistamines. If you are a regular coffee reduce to 1 cup/day and try to drink only organic coffee.
•    Avoid all artificial sweeteners including aspartame, sucralose, Splenda, and acesulfame potassium. These are found in all diet products, many yogurts, gum, mints, most flavoured water and many protein bars.
•    Avoid “White” food like white bread, white pasta, white rice, and white sugar.
•    Avoid fried foods.
•    Only consume dairy that is organic.
•    Avoid MSG.




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