Category Archives: General Health

General Health is about the environmental impacts we have to deal with on a daily basis. Detergents we use, stresses from people that we experience.

Mastitis Self-Help


Recently a friend called me up for some advice about treating mastitis. I realized that I have read a lot on the topic and the majority of information is about treating this with medication. Contrary to popular belief this can be treated without medication and only the really serious cases should be treated with antibiotics.

I have what I call “recurring mastitis” and have suffered 4 times the wrath of it, this before I figured out how to avoid and treat it sufficiently. Suffice to say that I had no help from the 5 medical professionals that have been involved with my care at any one time or another. According to statistics most people get it in the beginning, this is called lactation mastitis. I have heard may women suffering from it throughout the breastfeeding period. It is more likely to happen after a growth spurt, when your milk supply increases or during a hunger strike, when your baby is not eating enough to keep the milk out of your breasts. It can also happen when you move your baby onto solids and are starting to reduce breastfeeding. It also can happen because other influences, like because you have under-developed milk ducts and then you are likely to get it over and over, unless you find a way to prevent it.¬†breastfeeding

Tips:
– feed your baby as much as you can and keep those boobs empty
– pump your breasts at least once a day until they are empty, even when you think they are empty go another 5 min
– never wear a bra. The minute I stopped wearing a bra I reduced my chances of getting mastitis by 95%.

Have the following things on hand:
1) heat and cold patches / compresses (do a cold compress after feeding and a hot before)
2) the bathtub, put some lavender and soak ūüôā daily
3) a small towel, you will wet it and heat your breasts for five minutes and massage the area that is particularly painful
4) a pump, pump after every feed and every 2 hours if you have severe symptoms of mastitis
5) fruit – eat plenty of antioxidant – red berries and pomegranates
6) I have been recommended to take lecithin in order to help the fat and water content in my breasts to separate appropriately and reduce the chances of mastitis ( I have not taken this myself, but a lot of women recommend it)
7) Vitamin C is excellent for reducing any inflammation and therefore I recommend you take 1500mg a day for a couple of days to help reduce the swelling
8) Lots of sleep
9) stay at home and don’t over exert yourself
10) make sure your nipples are clean and not chipped. Use some form of vaseline or lanolin to keep them moisturised. Sometimes a cracked nipple can cause severe pain mimicking pain of mastitis.
11) drink lots of water!

All of the above should help you sort out the inflammation, which can be like a little clot in your boob with shooting pains. Within 48 hours things should improve significantly, to get rid of the problem completely you looking at about a week. Don’t give up and persevere.

Your milk might taste a little saltier to the baby and some babies may refuse to feed as per normal, that is why it is important to pump. Please above all else, don’t sleep through the night with mastitis. The reason why mastitis occurs is because you have trapped milk in the milk tissue and the longer it stays there the chances that you can get an infection and the area becomes inflamed. Infectious mastitis may develop if bacteria gets into your milk ducts.Left untreated, non-infectious mastitis can develop into infectious mastitis. This may be due to bacteria infecting milk that remains in the breast tissue.

If you have red spots on your boobs that are not going away, if you have high fever, if you are shivering, if you have a large lump that after pumping for a few days doesn’t resolve, if you feel dizzy and very drowsy with flu like symptoms that don’t resolve within 48 hours. Please see your doctor!! Your lymph nodes may be swollen and you may very well need antibiotics. Take antibiotics as a last resort, as it kills your gut flora and that of your babies tummy, not good.

As an adult human, you have three to four pounds of beneficial bacteria and yeast living within your intestines. These microbes compete for nutrients from the food you eat. Usually, the strength in numbers beneficial bacteria enjoy both keeps the ever-present yeasts in check and causes them to produce nutrients such as the B vitamins.

However, every time you swallow antibiotics, you kill the beneficial bacteria within your intestines. When you do so, you upset the delicate balance of your intestinal terrain. Yeasts grow unchecked into large colonies and take over, in a condition called dysbiosis.

Yeasts are opportunistic organisms. This means that, as the intestinal bacteria die, yeasts thrive, especially when their dietary needs are met. They can use their tendrils, or hyphae, to literally poke holes through the lining of your intestinal wall. This results in a syndrome called leaky gut. Yeasts are not the only possible cause of this syndrome. Some scientists have linked non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as naproxen and ibuprofen to the problem. Given their ability to alter intestinal terrain, antibiotics also likely contribute to leaky gut syndrome.

In addition to possibly causing leaky gut syndrome, I believe that parasitic yeasts can also cause you to change what you eat in that they encourage you to binge on carbohydrates including pasta, bread, sugar, potatoes, etc. So, it should come as no surprise that weight gain counts as one of the telltale signs of antibiotic damage and subsequent yeast overgrowth.

By altering the normal terrain of the intestines, antibiotics can also make food allergies more likely. An array of intestinal disorders can ensue, as well. Sadly, most doctors claim ignorance concerning their patients’ intestinal disorders rather than admit that the drugs they themselves prescribed actually caused the disorders to begin with.

another link

HOW TO RESTORE INTESTINAL FLORA, AND WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T?

If you must take antibiotics restore your gut flora by :

Balancing your diet. A good daily diet follows a rule of thirds: no more than one third of your daily calories coming from each of the following — carbohydrates, protein and fats. Get 25 to 30 grams of fibre each day from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Get your proteins from lean cuts of meat, beans and nuts. If you can, incorporate low-fat dairy (greek style yoghurt)
for calcium ( if you can’t eat dairy then don’t) and added protein. Stock up on good monounsaturated fats found in foods such as olive oil and avocados.

Vitamin B12 deficiency particularly in vegetarians


I know it the past I have written about eating meat, well there is a downside to not eating meat at all and that is the potential that one becomes vitamin b12 deficient. This vitamin is absolutely vital for our system as it helps keep levels of the amino acid homocysteine in check, not only this but it also works to make up our genetic material in our bodies.(make red blood cells, nerves, DNA, and carry out other functions. The average adult should get 2.4 micrograms a day.)

vitaminb12

Vitamin B12 deficiency can have a number of possible causes. Typically it occurs in people whose digestive systems do not adequately absorb the vitamin from the foods they eat. So generally vegetarians are more at risk and people who have undergone weight loss surgery.

If you do become anaemic you will begin to experience a lot of symptoms:

  • Weakness, tiredness or light-headedness
  • rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • pale skin
  • sore tongue
  • easy bruising or bleeding, including bleeding gums
  • stomach upset and¬†weight¬†loss
  • diarrhea or constipation

If the deficiency is not corrected, it can damage the nerve cells. If this happens, vitamin B12 deficiency effects may include:

  • tingling or numbness in fingers and toes
  • difficulty walking
  • mood changes or depression
  • memory loss, disorientation, and dementia

B12 deficiency in infants, if not detected and treated, can lead to severe and permanent damage to the nervous system. New mothers who follow a¬†vegetarian diet¬†should have their babies’ B12 levels checked by a doctor.

For most people, treatment resolves the anemia; however, any nerve damage that has occurred as a result of the deficiency could be permanent.

A Harvard Health article published the effects of study done by the Medical Journal on a 62 year old man who exhibited symptoms of¬†‚Äúpins and needles‚ÄĚ sensation in his hands, had trouble walking, experienced severe joint pain, began turning yellow, and became progressively short of breath. On analysis it was found that he was vitamin b12 deficient and this had occurred within just 2 months.

It could have been worse‚ÄĒa severe vitamin B12¬†deficiency can lead to deep depression, paranoia and delusions, memory loss, incontinence, loss of taste and smell, and more, according to¬†another article in the¬†New England Journal.

According to Dr Chandy you can cure hair loss with vitamin b12 injections also. According to nhs he is not practicing medicine according to their regulations. However it has helped people significantly.

Check this out.

vitamin B12 absorption by the gut is less effective than a shot directly into muscle, a higher dose is often needed when taken orally. Over-the-counter pills in high enough doses for treatment might be difficult to find, so you might need to take three or more pills to make up your necessary daily dose.

Which supplements should you not overdose on?


Many people take supplements due to the belief that the food that we eat is not nutritious enough, or we cannot get enough of it in our diet and therefore there is a definite need for supplementation. Some people truly believe that they can cut out certain foods because they are taking a supplement for it. So I decided to write a post in order to help people who are curious about what is good and what is bad.Dietary-Supplements

Please whatever you do, do not cut foods from your diet with the belief that you can replace the real thing, because you cannot! It is like saying that taking vitamin D can replace the sun, if that were true then we would seriously be rich. The supplements do help a lot, for example :

VITAMIN D is recommended particularly in the months where we have little sun, as it helps with the absorption of calcium (calcium should be taken with magnesium also for best effects) and it reduces the chances for women in particular of getting osteoporosis. However, even if there little sunshine go out and get at least 30 min of sunshine a day. If you apply suntan lotion etc, you are going to block out the UVB rays you need to make the vitamin D in your body.

Having said that, dairy processors producing pasteurized milk have been fortifying milk with vitamin D since 1933. Today, about 98 percent of the milk supply in the U.S. is fortified with approximately 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per quart. While dairies used to fortify their milk with vitamin D2, most have now switched over to the far superior D3.

Because of this fortification, many people believe that drinking milk is enough to support healthy vitamin D levels, but it is very difficult to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone.

most adults need at least¬†8,000 IU’s¬†of vitamin D a day¬†in order to raise their serum levels to healthy levels.2

As for supplements, while safe sun exposure or safe tanning bed use are the best ways to optimize vitamin D, oral supplementation can be used. However, many are taking vitamin D2 (the type used in many prescription vitamin D supplements), unaware that this form is unlikely to give you the health benefits you’re seeking.

Vitamin D3 is approximately 87 percent more potent in raising and maintaining vitamin D concentrations and produces 2- to 3-fold greater storage of vitamin D than does D2.3

Regardless of which form you use, your body must also convert it into a more active form, and it is estimated that vitamin D3 is converted 500 percent faster than vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 also has a shorter shelf life, and its metabolites bind poorly with cellular receptor sites, further hampering its effectiveness. So if you decide to supplement with an oral form of vitamin D, make sure it’s D3, not D2.

SELENIUM is believed to reduce the chances of prostate cancer and help with conditions such as asthma, arthritis, dandruff and infertility. Some of these have not been proven to have been getting better with the supplementation.

Good natural food sources of selenium include:

While the body can to some extent regulate itself taking certain types of vitamins in excess can be dangerous. In the Journal of Nutrition  an article has been release showing that getting too much selenium elevated LDL cholesterol levels in test subjects by up to ten percent.Other studies have shown that high levels of selenium increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and open angle glaucoma.

Selenium Dangers: Selenium Toxicity

When there’s too much selenium in the body either from the diet or from taking supplements, a condition called selenosis can occur – a form of selenium toxicity. This condition can cause loss of hair and fingernails, nerve dysfunction, changes in personality, and digestive upset. If prolonged, the lungs and liver can be affected which can be fatal. Experts believe that selenium levels greater than 400 micrograms per day pose a risk for this condition. Surprisingly, some mushrooms, depending upon the soil they’re grown in, can have high enough levels of selenium to cause problems.

It is highly unlikely that you are missing selenium from your diet and I would avoid taking this type of supplementation.

VITAMIN C a pharmacist answered the question of whether you can overdose on vitamin C, below is the response.

it is generally not recommended to have more than 2g/day. vitamin C toxicity can result in diarrhea and stomach upset. also, vitamin C can become transient free radicals when they donate electrons, making them pro-oxidants (instead of anti-oxidants). While they are generally more stable and less damaging, too much can lead to more harm than good. high amounts of vitamin c can lead to the formation of kidney stones (vitamin c oxalate crystals)

further, vitamin c has not been shown to decrease symptoms associated with colds or to decrease duration. there is no good evidence of this, and one can conclude that it simply does not work. however, some studies have shown that vitamin c may be beneficial if given regularly BEFORE the onset of a cold (decrease duration by about 1/2 a day).

the fact that you have a cold already and you start doping yourself with vitamin c will simply not be beneficial at all. furthermore, the colds are caused by viruses and are self-limiting. they will go away on its own. save your money on something else…

the only proven thing to cure a cold is adequate hydration and good rest.

OMEGA FISH OIL is very good for you, it has been proven that reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. It also helps with the texture of your hair, nails, skin and your brain health. It is really good to take it when you are pregnant for the brain and nervous system development of the child. This is one supplement I would definitely recommend.

According to the American Cancer Society, it is not yet known whether taking large quantities of omega-3 fatty acids is safe or not, nor have their interactions with other drugs been established. There are indications that overdosing on omega-3 fatty acids may increase total blood cholesterol and inhibit blood clotting. Overdosing on omega-3 fatty acids may have harmful effects, such as an increased risk of bleeding, and because of this, people who take blood-thinning medications or aspirin should not take extra omega-3 fatty acids, MayoClinic.com warns.

CALCIUM Millions of people take this supplement, some because of allergies and others to help keep their ageing bones in good condition. Calcium should not be taken without magnesium, as it reduces the magnesium in the system.

The symptoms of a single, acute overdose from accidentally or intentionally taking too many calcium supplements or calcium-containing antacids at one time include stomachache, constipation or diarrhea, headache, nausea and vomiting. An overdose can ultimately lead to mental confusion, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and coma.

High doses of calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements, other nonfood forms of calcium such as antacids, and calcium-fortified foods consumed on a regular basis in addition to a high-calcium diet, can lead to hypercalcemia. If you are taking a multivitamin supplement that contains 100 percent or more of the daily requirement for vitamin D, do not take a calcium supplement that also contains vitamin D.Chronic high blood levels of calcium can result in kidney stone formation, kidney damage and failure, abnormal heart rhythms, calcification in areas of the body other than bone tissue, dementia and coma. Too much calcium can also interfere with iron absorption.Symptoms of mild hypercalcemia are almost nonexistent, while symptoms of more severe hypercalcemia are similar to those of an acute overdose. In addition, frequent urination and excessive thirst may signal hypercalcemia.A routine blood test indicating high levels of calcium in the blood may be the first indication of hypercalcemia. If you have mild hypercalcemia, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and kidney stone formation. If you have more severe hypercalcemia, your doctor may prescribe other treatments, depending on the cause.

Apart from taking supplements, you got to consider how you take them. If you take them in combination this may be rather dangerous or on the other hand not beneficial at all. For example taking calcium and iron together is a no no, because they cancel each other out.

Calcium Interference

Calcium may interfere with the absorption of iron from supplements or your diet. Although the mechanism by which calcium inhibits intestinal absorption of iron remains unclear, the threshold at which interference begins is approximately 300 mg of calcium. Most calcium supplements contain significantly more than this amount. If you are taking iron and calcium supplements, talk with your doctor about dosages, when to take each supplement and potential interactions with foods and medications. Taking your calcium supplement at bedtime and your iron supplement during the day may be a simple way to derive maximum benefit from both products.

Whatever you do decide to take, please make sure that you are not taking it in combination with medication or other supplements that you are not supposed to be taking. Ensure you never take more than the recommended daily allowance and always do your research. Natural foods are always better and advised.

Mouth and Nose Sores this winter


Nederlands: Public Health Image Library http:/...
Nederlands: Public Health Image Library http://phil.cdc.gov/Phil/default.asp PHIL ID# 1573 Title: Herpes simplex lesion of lower lip, second day after onset. Content Provider(s): CDC/Dr. Herrmann Creation Date: (1964) Description: Herpes simplex lesion of lower lip, second day after onset. HSV, cold sore. Source Library: PHIL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I never really get mouth sores, but when I was little I constantly had something at the corner of my mouth and it would never go. I remember my parents always avoiding to kiss me when that happened in case they would catch it. Now I realise what we call a cold sore, however I don’t think mine were related to that, but rather something to do with a vitamin deficiency.

 

As an adult I have been getting loads of nose sores, they are particularly bad if I am in a dusty environment. Both nostrils fill up with these little wounds and I find it so difficult to breathe. More than anything both symptoms are annoying!

 

When you have the combination the first question is, “is it¬†¬†Staphylococcus¬†(staph) bacteria?”

 

Apparently it can arise due to your fingertips that are harboring the staph bacteria, so an important part of treatment is the strict maintenance of physical distance between the fingertips and the nasal cavity. I suppose for those who nose pick, you got a problem.

 

These infections do not respond to most topical antibiotic ointments usually and are even very resistant to most anti-staph oral antibiotics, however bactroban is recommended.

 

Or you could have folliculitus, which is an infection that occurs where your nose hair is growing. For those of you who pluck your nose hairs I say good luck :).

 

Or if it is indeed a cold sore it can appear in your nose as well, but that is pretty common to spot cause it’s just a cluster of red dots, just like at the corner of your mouth.

 

These hypersensitivities that I have due to my allergies are starting to irritate me, “Am I supposed to walk around with a mask?”

 

The mouth sores don’t look pretty, the more you pick at them the worse they get and people are like yugh. Anyway, when they here the scientific name – herpes- they think of the sexually transmitted disease and then you are really in the dog box.

 

Worst of all is when I eat something I am not supposed to cause of my allergies, it is not only the corner of my mouth that can get infected but the inside as well. So you can have like bubbles and painful spots in the mouth too. The doctor will tell you its a staph infection and then you will be taking meds you don’t need when in fact it could just be a sensitivity you are not aware of. If you really want to be sure, ask them to take a swab rather than keep prescribing you meds you might not need.

 

Worst case scenario is when this is just another symptom of something more serious like Lupus or Churg-Strauss.

 

Sometimes the simple solutions work best, have you tried using a humidifier for the air. It is winter indeed and the air is harsher due to it being drier?

 

Regarding your mouth sores, there is another possibility apart from Herpes and it is called Canker.

 

Canker sores are not contagious. They may look like a pale or yellow ulcer with a red outer ring. You may have one, or a group of them. Women seem to get them more than men. The cause of canker sores is not clear. It may be due to:

 

  • A weakness in your immune system (for example, from the cold or flu)
  • Hormone changes
  • Stress
  • Lack of certain vitamins and minerals in the diet, including vitamin B12 or folate

 

It seems that mine is getting better now that I am taking extra Vitamin B12.

 

Here are some recommendations:

 

Mouth sores¬†often go away in 10 to 14 days, even if you don’t do anything. They sometimes last up to 6 weeks. The following steps can make you feel better:

 

  • Avoid hot beverages and foods, spicy and salty foods, and citrus.
  • Gargle with salt water or cool water.
  • Eat popsicles. This is helpful if you have a mouth burn.
  • Take pain relievers like acetaminophen.

 

For canker sores:

 

  • Apply a thin paste of baking soda and water to the sore.
  • Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 1 part water and apply this mixture to the sores using a cotton swab.
  • For more severe cases, treatments include fluocinonide gel (Lidex), anti-inflammatory amlexanox paste (Aphthasol), or chlorhexidine gluconate (Peridex) mouthwash.

 

Over-the-counter medications, such as Orabase, can protect a sore inside the lip and on the gums. Blistex or Campho-Phenique may provide some relief of canker sores and fever blisters, especially if applied when the sore first appears.

 

 

 

 

 

Spinach and Feta Pie craving


Today I had my first real pregnancy craving, it was so strong that I could probably have chewed my hand off if I didn’t get it.

Apart from needing more sugar in my diet, I have been craving only fruits and veggies and unable to eat much meat. Anyway, this is probably the worst thing I could have eaten for my diet. But.. as they say you only live once and not everyone is perfect 100% of the time. Also, it is kind of my dad’s fault for bringing the idea up this afternoon. By the way, small triangles of this stuff is called spanakopita in greek.

Plus I am feeling rather exposed having posted my first chapter of my book on my blog.

So I will tell you how to make this delicious pie, that my husband also enjoys.

1. you need 6 eggs

2. feta cheese 150 grams

3. filo pastry, one carton

4. oil

5. spinach (one bag)

you will need a brush, a little bowl for the oil, one over tray and a fork. Also, I normally boil the spinach so it’s softer and easier to apply on the pie, but don’t over-boil it because then it will lose all it’s nutrients.

Put your oil in your little bowl and brush it on the inside of your tray. To prepare for the filling, grab a fork and crush the feta cheese into small little pieces, then break the eggs on top of this and beat it up. Don’t add the spinach in here, or it will just make the mixture too wet.

Take one filo pastry leaf and on the one side brush on some oil everywhere. Add along the narrower side the egg and feta, as if you making one thick line near almost the edge of the leaf. Lay a few spinach pieces on-top of your egg and feta line, then begin rolling gently until you get to the end. apply oil on the outer sides of this and begin making a circle on your tray. Repeat until you have done all your leaves the same way.

Put in the over @ 200 C. If you see your pastry is cracking a bit, you can sprinkle some water droplets on-top. When it is nice and golden usually your pie is ready.

Take out and serve semi warm. You can serve it with yoghurt.

Enjoy!

You missed a spot!


Cleaning your house can be an absolutely gratifying experience for most of us. Even for some of us who think we can find our things in our piles of mess, we still really do feel at peace when we are in a neat environment. As a kid I use to like to hoard piles of papers from school in my cupboards and then regularly throughout the summer I would get black bin bags and empty my trash in them. I was really astounded to see the amount of rubbish i had collected, it used to amount to about 3 bin bags full. Now its the same, not school work obviously, but clothes and I must say I have increased the amount.

I mean all of us must have creams, shampoo, papers and all sorts of rubbish that we really can do without as we have more than one stored.

De-cluttering our lives takes a lot of discipline and determination in many ways, but it is an absolutely cathartic exercise.

Throwing something away to cleaning what we actually own is not very difference, the satisfaction of sitting in a dust free room that has been ventilated and ready for guests is on an increase. I am totally able to study and relax in this atmosphere. On the other hand, if I go by a piece of dust, hair or a spot of something on the floor more than once then my mind will fixate on the fact that the floor probably needs a clean or a vacuum.

Do you use detergents? *Please read the section at the end of the article, I think it give invaluable advice*

I have to be honest, I do use detergents to help me remove grime. Although I have watched the Aggie and Kim clean many british homes with lemon juice and what not, however I have not really tried it myself. It is supposed to be really effective.

After a while I realised as much as I change my diet I will never really be truly in a pure state of body, unless I eliminate the detergents OR stop using aerosol type detergents and always wear gloves. I have to say my skin feels better and I don’t cough every time I spray to clean the shower doors.

How often do you clean your home?

It seem like work is a full time job, when you at work you working on the business and when you at home you working on your home. This just burns a person out! So instead of doing house work on both Sunday and Saturday, I keep my Saturday’s absolutely free. I do whatever I want on this day, preferably relaxing, visiting friends etc. On Sunday I feel much more energised to throw my effort into the house, this weekend I even managed to do some gardening.

I clean my home weekly, a thorough clean every two weeks, so moving furniture ¬†and dusting everywhere etc. and a smaller clean on the weeks in-between. If I do a thorough clean then I don’t have much time for my washing.I must say it is definitely more fun and quicker when you share the chores with a partner, house mate etc. You can make a competition out of it. “You buy the movie tickets if I finish first :)!”

If you can’t be bothered, then pay someone else to do it, but you can manage if you always clean as you go. Wipe that stove after you have used it, because it’s definitely easier now than later, similarly wipe the table, the breadboard and always think that things you do will require maintenance.

My house rule number 1: Take off your shoes at the door, beyond this point you are not allowed to walk around the house with shoes on.

According to a Home Hygiene article, the majority of us don’t know which items harbour the most germs, nor do we know how often we should clean them. So here are some tips from that article on how to clean your kitchen:

To keep the kitchen as hygienically clean as possible you should:

  • Regularly change dishcloths and boil wash them when possible
  • Keep separate chopping boards for raw and ready to eat foods to avoid cross contamination. Wash thoroughly and disinfect before use.
  • Replace chopping boards that are split or have seen better days
  • Use clean, dry dishcloths or kitchen towel to wipe surfaces – damp dishcloths harbour and spread bacteria
  • Add Dettol to a bucket with your normal household cleaner to ensure you are killing bacteria as well as making things look nice
  • Keep kitchen surfaces clean
  • The warmest part of your fridge should never exceed 5 degrees C – use a fridge thermometer to measure the temperature.
  • Open the fridge door as little as possible to maintain a constant temperature.
  • Store washed salad items, cooked and ready to eat items at the top, or in the salad compartment, and raw or defrosting meats at the bottom.
  • Cool hot foods to room temperature before refrigerating. Avoid leaving food out of the fridge for longer than 90 minutes.
  • Clean your fridge regularly

I want you to read the following and make up your own mind on how you will cut down on using the things we most dependant on these day for cleaning. Unfortunately we cannot fully abstract ourselves from some of the items mentioned, but we can definitely get closer to a purer way of life.

Before World War II, no-one used detergents.¬†No one used detergents before WWII because they were yet to be invented. Detergents were not needed before then, this was because everyone was happy with the real soap that was used to wash people, dishes & floors, etc. During WWII the fats and oils that were used to make soap became scarce because they were being used instead to manufacture nitro-glycerine for explosives, and so another chemical source for cleaning agents had to be found. We were finding petroleum all over the place by this time, and scientists discovered that they could make thousands of new chemicals from this petroleum, including what they called detergents. Detergents soon became a regular household item because there was no alternative during WWII. OK, so if soap was so good at its job (before the war), why did we not return to using real soap after the war was over? Well, if you ran a company that made detergents and soap, and you could make a much larger profit on one product (detergent) versus another (soap), which would you promote? Today, detergents are still much cheaper to manufacture than true soaps, and¬†marketing has ensured that a majority of the population is absolutely convinced that detergents are safe to use, and gentle to our skin and hair. The same goes for make-up, hairspray, creams and lotions, and any other cosmetics. These also changed from being made with ‘real’ ingredients to being synthetically prepared from petroleum products and becoming very similar to detergents.¬†Would you be surprised to learn that the vast majority (>80%)of chemicals used in cosmetics and detergents have never been tested? And that the majority of the others have been tested only by the manufacturer and not an independent testing laboratory? What is also really scary is that testing methods and regulations covering the use of chemicals in cosmetics (including shampoos, conditioners, creams & lotions) are based on knowledge from the 1960s. Back then people thought that the skin was an effective barrier to chemicals; that anything placed on the skin was not absorbed in the body in any appreciable way, so we did not have to worry very much at all about what we put on our skin.These days, it is extremely obvious that the skin is actually very efficient at transferring chemicals from the skin surface to the blood stream¬†and to the rest of your body. In fact, this knowledge is being exploited by the pharmaceutical industry to deliver drugs via skin patches. Delivering these drugs through a skin patch is much more effective than if you were to swallow a pill. If you were to take a pill, you would have to swallow at least 10X more of a drug to get the same effect as putting a skin patch on your arm, lets say.So, now that we know that what we put on our skin ends up in our bodies,¬†should we not test all these chemicals in our detergents/cosmetics by the same measures that we test the effects of drugs on our system?¬†Yes, of course we should! Does this mean it is happening, or going to happen? No. And why is that? The cosmetics industry is simply too large and powerful, and the regulating bodies are small, understaffed and powerless. Besides, they say, we’ve been using these chemicals for so long now that we would have seen any problem with them already, and that’s why most of them are classified as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe). The fact of the matter is that there are so many people with chemical sensitivities, allergies, eczema, asthma, autism, Alzheimer’s, breast cancer etc that are not traceable to a single source because of all the synthetic chemicals we put on and in our bodies. We have to consider that rising ‘disease’ rates are due to the sum total of the chemical soup that we expose ourselves to everyday.¬†We have to take responsibility for ourselves and our children¬†by using products that are as human friendly as possible, and removing detergents from your life is an excellent way to start.

A 2004 study found that a very popular preservative used in cosmetics, called a¬†PARABEN¬†(comes as butyl-, ethyl-, methyl- and propylparaben), was¬†found in breast cancer tissue. Parabens are classified as estrogenics, which mean they mimic estrogens. This class of chemicals is strongly suspected of causing feminizing effects of male sexual organs and falling sperm counts, as well as breast cancer. The really scary part is the role they play in¬†affecting the unborn baby’s future fertility.Triclosan¬†is another chemical that has been¬†widely used in detergents (like liquid hand ‘soap’ from dispensers). Triclosan kills any living micro-organism (such as bacteria), and is¬†considered a pesticide by the EPA¬†(Environmental Protection Agency). So, why is it present in detergents, deodorants, creams, lotions, toothpaste and mouthwash? Good question! The reason is that we have been conditioned to fear every little bacteria that exists, and that we have been conditioned to think we need special antibacterial soap to prevent us from catching a cold or the flu or salmonella poisoning. What we are really doing is killing massive numbers of good bacteria that live in harmony on our skin and keep the nasty bacteria under control. What we are actually doing is opening ourselves up to infections by bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics: the so-called Super Bugs. And that is just what we do to our own bodies. What happens to the millions of liters of this chemical that wash down our drains every year, straight through the wastewater plants and into our rivers and oceans?

Washing with plain soap and water is just as effective at cleaning our skin, without the harmful and irreversible side effect of antibiotic resistance, or throwing natural ecosystems out of balance.Ok, so those are 2 chemicals that I don’t want to see in the products that I use, is that all?¬†Unfortunately, the list of nasty chemicals to avoid is very long. The worst offenders in shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, cream, lotion and other cosmetics are¬†the preservatives, the colours and the fragrances.¬†These additives cause the largest number of allergic reactions among people, and not surprisingly¬†contain the most toxic chemicals.¬†So why do detergents and cosmetics contain these colours, fragrances and preservatives anyway? Synthetic chemicals are frequently unattractive to the human nose and must contain copious amounts of fragrance to mask their stink. Washing synthetic clothes in natural soap reveals that synthetic clothes also stink without synthetic fragrances clinging to them. Colour is added for the same reason. Synthetic products need to be made more attractive to encourage you to buy them.¬†Preservatives must be added because consumers demand a long shelf life, and because of the high percentage of water in most synthetic products, the possibility of spoilage is a certainty without preservatives.¬†So, your skin creams, shampoos, and conditioners will last indefinitely on the store shelf, but unfortunately, once in your body, they will not give you a longer life!

*with reference from http://www.clearwatersoapworks.com/site/1501105/page/664195*


Painful Surgery


Yesterday must have been one of the most painful days in my life. I went bravely in the morning to get a cyst cut out from my elbow. You would think it’s a small task, but I have a gash across the whole length of my elbow and evertime I move my arm the stitches and skin pull tightly away from each other opening up the wound. With three layers of protective padding, it seems hardly enough because even when the sleeve of my shirt moves across the wound it is complete agony.

Last night with one working hand, I had to chop food, cook it, feed myself, bath myself and remove a massive sticky plaster to change the dressing. Because the area of the wound and plaster is where I cannot really see and because its has been placed so tightly on, it was a millimeter by millimeter pull of 10by10cm dressing, each millimeter brought a larger flood of tears and more screaming out in horendous pain.

I never for one minute thought I would go through this or that I would have to face having to take care of my injured self.
I wonder how people with one arm do it. getting dressed is a challenge, brushing your teeth is a challenge, putting on face cream, putting on a seatbelt….

Now I just need to get through the next couple of days, sleep is hard as with every touch of the blanket I wake up hurting. I need to focus on me.

On top of it all late work nights, late dinners, stressful job isn’t helping and people’s egos, well I’m going to ignore everything until I get better. Until I have the strength to deal with it.