Living a life less toxic…

by Faith Canter


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Dealing with those wee beasties

It is believed that around 70% of us could have a fungal and / or a parasite issue in our digestive system.  This often occurs over a period of time, but usually because of long term stress, bad eating and drinking habits, drug use (both legal and illegal), especially antibiotics, steroids or oral contraceptive medication or a combination of all of the above.

 

As the ecology of the digestive system starts to break down then the bad yeasts and bacteria start to take hold.  This then opens your digestive system up to being a lovely inviting home to parasites also.  Initially you may not notice any symptoms / side-effects of this happening but eventually (sometimes years later) you may notice your health isn’t quite right, that Monday morning feeling never goes away and you may also have started to have some or most of the symptoms below.

 

  1. Flu / Sinus Problems / Coughs/Sore Throats
  2. IBS / Upset Tummies / Constipation/Indigestion
  3. Depression
  4. PMS, Mood Swings & Irritability
  5. Headaches/Migraines
  6. Chronic Fatigue / Low energy levels
  7. An inability to Lose Weight / Weight Gain
  8. Itching throughout the body & including the genital and rectal areas
  9. Poor Concentration / Feeling Generally Muddled
  10. Skin Conditions / Acne /Eczema
  11. Dizziness
  12. Muscle Weakness/Pain
  13. Food & Chemical Sensitive’s
  14. Low Libido
  15. Thrush and Athletes Foot
  16. Inability to absorb and utilize adequate nutrients from your food

 

The reason for this is because as the fungus grows it produces toxins which spread throughout the body.  They can affect all areas of the body and especially run amuck through the digestive and endocrine systems, potentially affecting our hormones, including things like thyroid function and insulin production.  The more the fungus grows the more toxins it produces and the more overrun the body becomes.  Your body works hard to try to remove these toxins and in the meantime the fungus is producing more and more of them.  Without some additional help the body simply cannot deal with the fungus and its friends, the parasites and you start to become increasingly unwell. 

The good news is that it is fairly easy to bring the fungus back to a normal healthy balance.  You can do this in one of (or a combination of) the following ways.

 

Detoxing the body

If you create an environment that the fungus and parasites do not like within your body they will leave.  If you follow a really healthy diet plan then the digestive system will eventually become balanced again.  This can be helped by cutting out processed foods, sugars and alcohol and consuming a combination of detoxing herbs.  The three following herbs are especially powerful at eliminating fungus and parasites, but if in any doubt see a qualified herbalist who will advise you on how and when to take these and any others:  Wormwood, Black Walnut and Clove.  Also look to introduce anti-candida foods, such as ginger, garlic, coconut oil and oregano. 

 

Fermented Food and Drinks

Fermented foods and drinks are full of good bacteria, yeasts and probiotics, when you consume these they help to rebalance the digestive system and eliminate the overgrowth of fungus and eventually encourage the parasites to leave, as they don’t like healthy environments.  Try to have as many different strains (different fermented food and drinks) as possible for optimum benefits.  Start with a very small amount, maybe a tablespoons worth and slowly build up, otherwise you may find you have some pretty side effects, as the fermented produce affectively detoxes the digestive system.  A slight churning of the stomach is a good sign, it means the good stuff in the fermented produce it attacking the bad stuff in your gut, however if you have any worsening symptoms than this then please reduce how much you are consuming and slowly build it up again.  Note: By fermented I mean lacto-ferments or cultured foods and drinks, not pickled. 

 

Zapper

Zappers are wonderful little boxes of health.  A traditional zapper looks like a small box that has two electrodes and a strap attached to it.  You wear it next to your skin (on the lowest setting to start with and never above 12 volts) for 60 minutes in the morning, afternoon and evening.  It literally draws toxins right through the skin and along with this it is thought to kill many viruses, bacteria, fungus and parasites within the body.  It also helps to ground you and reduces the effects of electromagnetic stress, due to it being negativity charged, just like our planet.  Zappers are thought it help alkalise and balance the body and remove everything from herpes and Lyme disease to emotional blockages throughout the body.  These are not recommend for anyone with a pacemaker or if pregnant.

 

Enemas and Colonics:

Enemas and colonics are very affective at removing those pesky critters from the digestive system.  Enemas are fairly easy to do at home, but in my personal opinion they don’t get high enough up the digestive system to be completely remove all fungus and parasites, however colonics do.  I would highly recommend going to a fully qualified colonic expert, preferably with a medical or nutritional back ground.  They will be able to tell you if you have a fungus or parasite issue and the best course of action to help support the treatments they give you (note there should be multiple treatments to be affective).

 

Yeast die-off Diet

This option is a bit more drastic, but affective.  There are many die-off diets around, some lasting years, some just a few days and others using pills and potions.  The die-off diet I recommend lasts around 3 weeks (slightly less for moderate cases and slightly more for more severe cases).

During a die-off diet you would aim to starve the fungus so that it retreats back to a healthy level within the body.

To do this you would need to completely cut out all sugars for this period, this includes fruit sugars and honey as well as all the bad sugars.  You also need to cut out all yeasts and funguses as well, this includes mushrooms, vinegars, blue cheeses and pickled goods as well as alcohol.  On top of this you would cut out all items that create a sugary or yeasty effect in the body, so this includes all refined carbohydrates, and many white foods like white potatoes, white flour / pasta and white rice (but brown rice is fine and things like quinoa are fine).

 

Tomatoes and carrots are both fine raw but cooked they become sugary, so they are best avoided or dramatically cut down in this period.

 

You should try where possible to only eat organic foods, especially where meat and dairy are concerned.  These two types of foods in particular if not organic that can hold a high number of antibiotics and additional hormones that the fungus will love.  Any pesticides and preservatives on fruits and veggies will be a little gold mine for the fungus also, so if you can’t manage organic make sure you wash these well.

 

If you have any food or chemical sensitivities then these need to be avoided for this time to help the body heal and the immune system strengthen. 

 

It is very important that during this time of change you have a varied and balanced diet and do not cut items out not to be replaced by other items.  Varying your diet will minimise food sensitivities and help your digestive system work more effectively, as well as give you a good supply of essential nutrients.

 

Anything you can do to strengthen the immune system is going to help, so make sure you have adequate amounts of Vitamin C, Zinc & Selenium in your will help. 

 

Drink at least 2-3Litres per day water to flush the fungus and it’s toxins out and to support a healthy digestive track. You can make this water more alkalising by adding cucumber, ginger or pH drops.

 

Cut out, or if not down on caffeine, instead replacing this with herbal teas, especially one’s that support the liver, like nettle and dandelion. 

 

Make sure to take a daily probiotic (if you are not consuming fermented foods and drinks), one with many million strains of lactobacillus bacteria.

 

Grapefruit Seed extract (not grape seed extract) is recommended, please read the label and consume only as advised and start with the minimum dose.  This is a very strong, natural antifungal and isn’t for everyone, so if you find this is too much for you then please discontinue use.  This is also not advised long term. 

 

Oregano Oil extract is an excellent natural antifungal, but again it is fairly strong, so shouldn’t be taken long term.  And although it suggests on the label that you can put this directly onto the mouth undiluted, I would not recommend this unless you want to be hopping about the kitchen trying to scrap the taste off your tongue for the next hour (like I was). 

 

I would not recommend taking the above anti-fungals for longer than 12 weeks, which is the believed amount of time it takes for all the toxins from the fungus to leave the body after the die-off diet.

 

Lastly, try having daily Epsom salt baths to help draw out the toxins created by the fungus and the die-off of itself.

 

You will know when the die-off is finished as you will likely be feeling under the weather during this time and will literally wake up one morning (usually around the 3 week mark) feeling absolutely fine again.

 

Here’s some other relevant links:

The Body Ecology Diet – Donna Gates, for her website, click here.

Cultured Food for Life – Donna Schwenk, for her website, click here.

Zapper – Dr Clark, for her website, click here.

Parasite Cleanse – The Kitchen Stewardship, click here.

Candida Cleanse – The Candida Diet, click here

 

Do any of you have any tips for dealing with inner beasties? 


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Top Tips for Detoxing the Body

It’s really important when detoxing in any way to support the body as much as possible.  Failure to do this could mean you absorbing many of the toxins you have released during a detox back into the body again.  Quick-fix detoxes generally allow this to happen.  If your body couldn’t process these toxins the first time round, what makes you think that it will be able to the second time round when you release these along with  many other additional toxins whilst doing a detox?  As such supporting the body in anyway possible is essential.  This is especially so for the liver, lymphatic and digestive systems as these are fundamental to the permanent removal of toxins from you body.

Below is a list of my top 21 tips for doing so:

  1. Reduce the toxic load of your food.  Replace processed sugars and white foods (like bread, flour and rice) with wholemeal versions and stay clear of sweeteners, diet foods and drinks, as well as caffeine and alcohol.
  2. Reduce the use of toxins in your home and on your body.  Your body absorbs a lot of the toxins from its environment, so replace these with natural alternatives or make your own.
  3. Drink plenty of water (at least 2 – 3 litres every day and more if exercising).  Make sure you drink from a non-plastic, or at least BPA free plastic container.  This will help your lymphatic system eliminate toxins.  Preferably drink at least a litre of this as soon as you wake up and before doing anything else with you day.
  4. Exercise regularly.  This doesn’t need to be high impact – just a minimum of 20 minutes four times a week.  This helps the body sweat out toxins.
  5. Increase your intake of probiotic foods and drinks.  By this I mean fermented (not pickled) vegetables and drinks like kefir and kombucha as these are an amazing sources of many billions of different probiotics bacteria.  These will help the body eliminate toxins and balance good and bad bacteria and yeasts within the gut.  Failing this, then take a really good quality, multi-strain probiotic supplement instead (one with many billions of multi strain good bacteria in).
  6. Drinking herbal teas and using herbal remedies such as burdock, parsley, peppermint, turmeric, black walnut, elderberry, dandelion, nettle, liverwort, wormwood, charcoal and milk thistle all help the body to detox and support the liver through the detoxification process.  The more bitter, the better.
  7. Increase your consumption of magnesium rich foods (leafy greens, nut, seeds, beans, lentils, fish, avocados, figs, bananas and whole grains).  Try to also have as many Epsom salt baths as possible.  Epsom salts are high in magnesium and help to draw out toxins (as well as general aches and pains, so they are great after exercising etc) from the body.  Try to relax in the bath for a minimum of 20 minutes if you can as this will have an optimum affect.
  8. Consider regular massage, reflexology, saunas, steam rooms or any other detoxifying therapies. These therapies stimulate the lymphatic’s, helping them to eliminate toxins through sweating and other means.
  9. Take up body brushing.  You can either use a long handled brush or just your own hands and general brush your body in the direction of the chest.  Make sure, especially with women you brush up the sides of the breasts, where we store a lot of toxins (these may become tender once you start shifting toxins but keep going as that’s a good sign and they will clear up). This will also stimulate the lymphatics and remove blockages, helping them to work more effectively at removing toxins from the body.
  10. Don’t skip meals.  Eating regularly means the body works more effectively and when this happens you eliminate toxins better.  It also means that your blood sugar levels shouldn’t get so low that you feel the need to snack on something naughty!  And remember to include plenty colourful fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts into your regular meals.
  11. Make sure you are having your having at least one bowel movement a day.  Bowel movements are one of the body’s main ways to remove toxins from it.  If you’re not having at least one bowel movement a day then you are likely holding on to a lot of the toxins from your food.  This will be mean you will be absorbing these toxins back into the body instead of them being removed from the body during normal bodily functions like this.  If your not having regular bowel movements then try eating more fibre, drinking more water and take up body brushing and rebounding.
  12. Daily rebounding (jumping on a mini trampoline), as this helps stimulate the lymphatic’s, which will help remove toxins from your system.
  13. Try not using antiperspirants.  These products impair the body’s ability to eliminate toxins in the normal way, through sweat. I know some people worry about body odour, so they still use antiperspirant products. If nothing else, try to cut them out at home to allow your body to sweat normally.  If the toxins can’t get out they will end up stored in the body.  There are a lot of great natural products on the market (my favourite is PitRock, a salt stone deodorant).  Once your body has eliminated the build-up of toxins and you have lowered your toxic intake you won’t need a deodorant as you won’t smell when you sweat, as the smell is toxins leaving the body.  That’s why people smell worse after a drinking session, a takeaway or when on medication.
  14. Get a minimum of eight hours sleep a night, out body’s do a lot of their detoxing work during our sleeping hours, so it’s important to give it the time to do this.
  15. When eating meat and dairy always try to opt for the organic versions of these so you will be absorbing less toxins through your food then.
  16. If you don’t understand the label then don’t eat it, strange words etc on labels more often than not means chemicals, so avoid eating these sorts of foods where possible as they will only add to your toxic load.
  17. Look into the symptoms of a yeast imbalance within the gut. It’s believed with the way we live our lives these days that up to 70% of us have this issue.  Whilst the bad yeasts grow and get out of balance within the body they produce toxins that the body has to try to eliminate (on top of all the other stuff).  This can make us feel pretty lousy.  It’s fairly simple to bring the good and bad yeasts back into balance with a change of diet, an introduction of some natural anti-fungal foods and increasing our consumption of fermented/probiotic foods and drinks (mentioned within a later chapter of this book).
  18. Breathe deeply, fully into the lungs, stomach and back and with purpose, as many times in the day as you remember. As mentioned in one of the previous chapters this will help the body remove toxins from the respiratory system and allow the rest of the body to get the energy and oxygen it requires to do its job effectively.
  19. Try to incorporate yoga, pilates, tai chi, qi-gong or meditation to your daily life.  These will help support and strengthen body and mind for detoxing and much more.
  20. Swap your normal fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes for more natural non fluoride versions.  And consider having mercury filling removed by someone who specialises in this process.
  21. And last but by no means least, reduce your stress levels!  This leads to an over production of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.  When this happens many of the normal functions of the body become impaired and this can mean that not only are you not eliminating toxins, but your also then storing these additional hormones.  Also when you’re stressed you tend not to eat well, exercise and generally look after yourself as you should.

 

Watch this space for: Top Tips for detoxing the Mind and Top Tips for Detoxing your Home.

Here’s some other detoxing pages you might be interested in:

25 Ways to Detox From Heavy Metals etc, click here.

10 Ways to Detoxifying the Body, click here.

28 Simple & Natural Ways to Detox your Body, click here.

Foods that will Naturally Detox you, click here.

How do you detox?


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Gratitude is the best Attitude

One of my first experiences of gratitude really turning my life around was when I was very ill with ME/CFS.  I couldn’t leave my bed most of the time let alone the house.  I became very lonely, isolated, and quite negative and was starting to get very depressed again.  I read a book called The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman that made me realise I was making myself worse by thinking this way.  I learned that I needed to live more in the ‘now’ and learn to appreciate and be grateful what I could do, and did have.  Focusing my time and energy on what I couldn’t do was a complete waste of my precious energy; it doesn’t get you anywhere apart from further down the slippery negativity slope.  So I started to sit at my window instead of in bed and when I could I’d sit in the garden.  I started to notice so much more around me.  I realised I’d had blinkers on before I got really ill, because I was always busy rushing around doing ‘important’ things and not noticing what a beautiful world I lived in.

As a child I had been taught all about nature, the Planet and our environment, but somewhere along the line I’d lost my connection with it, or should I say I’d just plain stopped noticing it was even there, even though it was right there, right in front of me!

When I started sitting at my window and noticing the birds, animals, insects and even the trees, I became quite overwhelmed by how much of this amazing world I had been missing out on.  It was right there in my garden and my street.  I would sit for hours watching the birds and the squirrels coming and going in the garden and how the garden changed throughout the seasons.  This in turn meant that I started to notice more about what was going on inside my home as well as outside.  I became so grateful for everything and everyone in my life and although I wasn’t fit enough to do the things I used to do, I was honestly so grateful for what I could do, see and notice now and if anything I felt a little sad I’d been walking around with blinkers on for so long.

It’s amazing what a small shift in thinking can do to our overall pleasure from life.  I couldn’t do any more than I could the day, week, or year before but I gained so much more from my life.  I saw pleasant things and little miracles happening every single day that I just hadn’t noticed before.  Nothing else had changed, only my perspective and WOW! what a difference that had made.

So here’s a little gratitude experiment:

What are you grateful for today? Not what you can’t do, haven’t got, wish you could change.  What are you actually grateful for in your life right now?  I sometimes have people say things like ‘there’s nothing good in my life to be grateful for’ but if you start small and work your way up you’ll find it easier.  This could be health, love, family, pets, time, space, warmth, friendship, nature, peace, the ability to read, work, food, your hair, your smile, the smile of a friend, the lessons you’ve learned or any of the other amazing things, little or large that are happening in your day-to-day life.

Write down at least 21 things you’re grateful for.  Get into a habit of doing this daily (you can list less than 21 things each day if you find this easier).  Instead of listing off all the things you see as negative in your life, list the positive.  I know this seems like a silly little experiment, but trust me on this; it forms new habits, new pathways in the brain and a whole new perspective on your life!

You could write these down in on your phone or computer, in your notebook, on scraps of paper in a gratitude jar (and empty the jar to read these once a year) or you could get one of the many really lovely gratitude journals out there.  There are even beautiful children’s versions of these journals.  They can draw and write what they are grateful for, installing happy, positive habits, memories and keepsakes in your children about gratitude from a young age and having fun whilst doing it.

The final little titbit for this chapter: It’s great to get into the habit of listing what you’re grateful for, just before bed as it promotes the release of happy, relaxing and sleep inducing chemicals in the body and actually helps you to drift off into a much more peaceful and relaxing sleep. Winner!

Would any of you care to share what you’re grateful for today in the comments section below?

Here’s some links to some more Gratitude pages out there:

Why living a life of gratitude can make you happy

How gratitude can change your life

Gratitude Log

365 Grateful

Why gratitude is good for you

Gratitude


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Top Tips for Living a Less Toxic Life

I’ve had many requests for my top tips for living a less toxic life.

So there they are:

1. Meditate daily.  Even if you feel you haven’t got the time to meditate regularly try a short three minute guided meditation instead (you can find loads of these on YouTube and such like).  When we bring ourselves into the ‘now’ through meditation we stop the toxic thought processes of running over the past or thinking about what will often never happen in the future.  Here’s a blog post of mine about meditation for more information, click here.

2. Learn to belly breathe.  When we breathe in our normal way, we often don’t expel all the toxins we need to.  Normal breathing is shallow, and we need to breathe into the bottom of our lungs to breathe more effectively.  Belly breathing is when you push your belly out when you breathe in and bring your belly in when you breathe out.  It can take some getting used to.   Also try a few deep belly breaths if you feel stressed or anxious as this will help calm you down and also helps with fatigue, as more oxygen in the body means a healthier and more energised body.

3. Adopt a good posture.  By doing this you lessen the levels of toxicity in the body, as all your organs, including the lungs work more effectively because they are not squashed up.  This helps you expel more toxins.  Sit or stand with your weight evenly over your hips and when carrying things carrying them evenly over both sides of the body.

4. Gratitude is the best attitude!  Looking for things to be grateful for in your day helps form new habits of positivity instead of negativity.  This reduces our toxic thoughts about ourselves and our lives and when we do this it not only makes us happier, but these sorts of thoughts have chemical reactions within the brain, creating new positive and less toxic pathways rather than reinforcing old negative pathways and thoughts.  Try listing 21 things in each of your days that you are grateful for (anything from your hair or health to family and pets), do this every day and see what a difference it makes to our life and those toxic thoughts.

5. Drink plenty of fresh clean water and get plenty of fibre in your diet.  Water includes herbal teas and vegetable juices and should ideally add up to 2 – 3 litres a day, more if you are exercising.  This will help you flush toxins from your body.  In the same respect making sure you have plenty of fibre in your diet will help you maintain regular bowel movements, which is one of the body’s main ways of eliminating a lot of toxins.  If you do not have regular bowel movements you will be holding onto a lot of additional toxins, so this is a must to address for detoxification.

6. Swap the white foods for brown. White rice, flours, breads, pastas, potatoes and sugars should ideally be swapped for wholemeal and brown versions, and sweet potatoes eaten instead of white potatoes.

7. Go organic. I know going organic can be expensive, so if you can’t afford it fully then go organic with the dirty dozen (the fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of toxins on and in them).

THE DIRTY DOZEN (try and eat organic versions if you can):

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet bell peppers
  8. Nectarines (imported)
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry tomatoes
  11. Snap peas (imported)
  12. Potatoes

8. Eat plenty of colourful vegetables every day.  Colourful vegetables like peppers and beetroot are packed full of antioxidants as well as being highly nutritious.

9. Introduce some fermented foods into your diet.  Fermented foods and drinks like kefir, kombucha, unpasteurised sauerkraut and other fermented fruits and vegetables are packed full of healthy yeasts and probiotics, they help balance the gut flora and eliminate the toxic yeasts and bacteria from the digestive system.  They are highly beneficial for digestive disorders and for overall health and well-being.  Here’s a recent blog post of mine about one of the fermented drinks I favour the most, kefir, click here.

10. Lose sugar, sweeteners, processed foods, gluten and MSG from your diet.  In my opinion not only are these full of empty calories (meaning they are high in calories with little benefits), but they are all also toxic to the body and affect the development of our brain and body in a negative way, as well as our body struggling to eliminate them and often storing them in body fat.

11. Replace toxic beauty products with natural ones.  Due to the fact we absorb up to 60% of what we put onto our skin, it stands to reason that beauty products should be as natural as possible otherwise we are taking on board lots of additional chemicals every day.  You can buy a natural alternative to all beauty products these days or you can make you own, very simply and cheaply.  Coconut oil is a great replacement for many beauty products.  To check out my blog about coconut oil for me info, click here.

12. Replace toxic household cleaners with natural ones.  In the same way we absorb beauty products, we can also absorb household cleaners that touch our skin.  Not only that, but we also breathe in the toxic chemicals from the fumes they produce.  Again it is really easy and cheap to make your own natural cleaners.  Check out my blog about making your own natural cleaners by click here.

13. Replace toxic air-fresheners, candles and other home and car smellies with natural ones.  Toxic air-fresheners are some of the worst chemical products within our homes because we absorb all these nasty toxins through our respitory system.  Watch out for future blogs about how to make your own air-fresheners and in the mean time here is one about making your own natural eco tea-cup candles, click here.

14. De-clutter your home.  One of the items greatly overlooked when living a less toxic life is clutter.  Not only does clutter create mess and dust, but is also often prevents us from moving on with our life as it allows us to dwell in the memories of the past that the clutter reminds us of.  When we live in clutter we don’t make room for new things both physically and mentally in our lives.  By letting go of clutter we generally feel less suffocated,  more energised, less stressed and we become open to new things happening in our lives.

15. Return to Nature.  Electromagnetic stress effects us all, but even more so with people who already have existing health conditions.  This is when the electromagnetic field of electrical appliances interferes with our own electromagnetic field.  This causes a whole host of health issues, but can easily be addressed by spending as much time as possible in nature.  Not only does nature ground us, it makes our normal body rhythms work correctly, it helps the body develop and helps with sleep.  Because of all this, it also helps us eliminate toxins and by being out in nature you’re hopefully also breathing better quality air and getting some much needed vitamin D as well.

So as you can see, living a life less toxic, includes mind, body, home and environment and helps our own health and wellbeing and that of our beautiful planet too!

 

Here’s some more reading for you about reducing toxins in your life:

MindBodyGreen: Four Toxic Triggers That Drain, click here.

Dr Mark Hyman: How to Detox from Sugar, click here.

Lauren Conrad: Fit Tips How to Detox from Head to Toe, click here.

Miss Nutritionist: Top 10 Detox Tips, click here.

The Healthy House: Detoxing Tips for General Good Health, click here.

 

Do you have any tips you want to share about living a life less toxic?