Thursday, January 23, 2014

Are You Toxic?

You can spend thousands of dollars on pricey medical tests to determine if you’re overrun with toxic compounds. Or, you can take a moment to listen to your body, looking for clues that could signal a bodily invasion of toxic chemicals, stress, and destructive foods. Here are some easy — free — ways you can figure out how to determine your own toxic body burden and what you can do about it! First, the warning signs…and there are many that could be linked to toxic overload. They may seem like “little issues,” so small patients often don’t even think to mention them. But if you rule out underlying conditions and still experience these symptoms, it could signal the need for my safe detox plan and lifestyle changes. Here are five of the many clues that could signal overload of toxic compounds if you’ve ruled out other underlying conditions:

1. Pain or aches in your muscles or joints
2. Trouble concentrating
3. Fatigue or sluggishness
4. Headaches
5. Mood swings

 The good news is if the food you’re eating, the medicine you’re taking, and the products in your home are causing these symptoms, there’s a lot you can do to detox. But first, take this Environmental Factors Questionnaire to figure out how toxic your life might be.
Self-Test: Environmental Factors Questionnaire
Scoring 0 = never (no) 1 = occasionally (yes) 2 = frequently (Some exposures are so damaging, you’ll need to add extra points where indicated.)

Cleaners Do you use conventional chemical cleaners (furniture polish; disinfecting sprays; scrubs; or glass, surface, or metal cleaners) in any of these rooms? living room ___ bedroom ___ kitchen ___ bathroom ___ Do you use conventional detergents, bleaches, or softeners for laundry? ___ Do you use conventional soap for dishwashing? ___ Do you use nonorganic room deodorizers like aerosols or plug-ins? ___ Is your shower curtain liner made of vinyl or plastic? ___ Do you use a conventional dry cleaner and remove the clothing from the plastic wrap less than 12 hours before wearing it? ___ Ideal section score = less than 2

Outdoors Do you use chemical weed killers or herbicides on your lawn or landscape? ___ Do you use chemical fertilizers? ___ Have you treated your home or yard chemically for insect infestation? (ants, termites, etc.) ___ Does your outdoor area feature older treated wood in decking, play structures, or landscaping materials? ___ Ideal section score = less than 2 ___ Occupation Does your work involve exposure to inhaled or skin-contact chemical agents (dentist, dry cleaner, shoe repairman, welder, industrial worker, etc.)? ___ Ideal section score = less than 2

Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Do you use an electric blanket? ___ Do you use a mobile phone next to your ear more than 15 minutes a day? ___ Do you keep your mobile phone in a pocket or clipped to your body? ___ Is there a powered electric device within 2 feet of your bed? ___ Do you live within 50 feet of a mobile phone tower or high power line? ___ Ideal section score = less than 2

Air Quality Have you renovated your home using any of the following? conventional paints ___ plasterboard ___ polyurethane (+1) ___ sanding ___ glues for carpet or flooring (+1) ___ Are there outdoor-air-quality alerts where you live? ___ Are you often exposed to automotive exhaust? ___ Do you spend more than 2 hours a day in a car? ___ Do you tend to travel by air? ___ Do you own new furniture — purchased less than 2 years ago? ___ Does your home contain cabinets made of pressed wood composites? ___ Is there paint in your house that’s cracking and more than 20 years old? ___ Is there heavy accumulation of dust on furniture or drapes? ___ Do you have wall-to-wall carpet? ___ Do you have a damp or musty basement? ___ Is there visible mold in your home? ___ Does anyone in your household smoke? (+2) ___ Ideal section score = less than 8

Water Does your home have old pipes? ___ Do you drink from untested well water? ___ Do you live in a building with a roof tank? ___ Do you have heavy water discoloration in the morning? ___ Ideal section score = less than 1
Ingested Therapies and Over-the-Counter Medicines Do you use antibiotics more than twice a year? ___ Do you use nicotine patches, gum, or spray more than twice a week? ___ Do you use acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) more than 4 days a week? ___ Do you use NSAIDs (such as aspirin or ibuprofen) more than 4 days a week? ___ Do you use antihistamines (like diphenhydramine) daily? ___ Do you use decongestants daily? ___ Do you use stomach acid‑suppressing medications daily? (+1) ___ Do you use nutritional or herbal supplements that are produced with no ostensible quality assurance? ___ Do you drink grapefruit juice (6 ounces) with your prescription medication? ___ Do you have silver mercury fillings in your teeth? ___ Ideal section score = less than 4

Daily Prescription Medications Do you use inhaled steroids? Or oral steroids? (+1) ___ Do you take anticonvulsing or antipsychotic medication? ___ Do you use tranquilizers, sleeping pills, or antidepressants? ___ Are you on hormone therapy? ___ Are you undergoing chemotherapy? (+1) ___ Are you in radiation therapy? (+1) ___ Are you on a biologic agent (e.g., TNF blocker)? ___ Are you on other medications? (+1 for each additional beyond 2) ___ Ideal section score = limit as much as possible

Personal Care How often do you use conventional (not specifically organic nor free of synthetic preservatives, fragrances, or sudsing agents) versions of the following beauty and personal care products? Soap (perfumed) ___ Antibacterial soap ___ Perfume ___ Moisturizers ___ Shampoo ___ Hair dye ___ Sunblock ___ Nail polish ___ Deodorant/antiperspirant ___ Conditioner ___ Hairspray ___ Foundation ___ Eye and cheek color ___ Lipstick ___ Ideal section score = less than 4 ___ Food Quality and Quantity Do you eat a lot (3 or 4 days a week) of fried food? (+1) ___ Do you eat a lot (3 or 4 days a week) of red meat? ___ Do you eat a lot (3 or 4 days a week) of cheese or other full-fat dairy? ___ Do you eat tuna, swordfish, or other large predatory fish? ___ Do you eat a lot of sugar or refined carbohydrates? (+1) ___ Do you charbroil your meat? (+1) ___ Do you usually subject your vegetables to long cooking times? ___ Do you eat foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup (such as sodas or salad dressings)? (+1) ___ Do you eat foods (such as drinks or processed foods) that contain preservatives or colorants? ___ Do you eat less than 50 grams of protein a day? ___ Do you eat less than 25 grams of fiber a day? ___ Do you eat less than eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day? (+1) ___ Ideal section score = less than 4

Eating & Drinking Do you drink less than 8 cups of water a day? ___ Do you drink more than 4 cups of coffee a day? ___ Do you use artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, or sucralose? ___ Do you drink sugary soda daily? (+2) ___ Do you drink more than two alcoholic drinks a day? ___ Do you drink alcohol more than 5 days a week? ___ Ideal section score = less than 2

Grocery Shopping Do you usually buy conventional rather than organic produce? (+1) ___ Do you buy meat, eggs, or milk not labeled antibiotic or rBGH free? ___ Do you buy fish that may contain mercury/heavy metals? (+1) ___ Do you accept and handle paper shopping receipts? (+1) ___ Ideal section score = less than 3 ___ Cooking Do you use Teflon-coated nonstick pans? __ Do you store food in plastic containers? ___ Do you reheat food in plastic containers? (+1) ___ Do you use plastic wrap? ___ Do you use canned foods? ___ Do you microwave popcorn in prepared bags? (+1) ___ Ideal section score = less than 4

Exercise and Rest Do you sleep less than 7 hours a day? ___ Do you wake more than twice a night? ___ Do you have a job that requires you to sit more than 4 hours a day? ___ Do you exercise less than 3 hours a week? ___ Do you exercise more than 2 hours a day? ___ Do you fail to take one rest day a week away from exercise? ___ Ideal section score = less than 2 ___ Stress Do you experience continuous daily stress? (+1) ___ Do you have episodic, high-intensity stress? (+1) ___ Do you suffer from chronic anxiety? (+1) ___ Are you depressed, or do you have a feeling of hopelessness? (+1) ___ Are you a caregiver for someone who is chronically ill? (+1) ___ Do you smoke? (+2) ___ Ideal section score = less than 4
Scoring the Environmental Factors Questionnaire
0 to 50: Supportive Surroundings If you totaled 50 points or less, you are living pretty clean. Don’t rest on those laurels, though. Everything you do to nudge that number toward zero will benefit your health in the long term. Also, look carefully at your results to see if the questionnaire has revealed one or more areas of your life that need your serious attention. I’ve indicated what I believe to be the healthiest range for each lifestyle area. If you scored very high in any one or two areas — say, your kitchen equipment needs updating or you haven’t been buying organic personal care products — you should address it as soon as you can. If you can see that a little of this and a little of that environmental toxin is sneaking in, hopefully your awareness is raised enough to tighten up the ship. (Ever heard the expression “nibbled to death by ducks”? Don’t let that be your fate.)

50+: Toxins All around You If you scored over 50, consider this a wake-up call: You need to make changes to your lifestyle and your environment, because your lifestyle and/or your environment are putting your health at risk. If you haven’t already, you may soon start to feel the onset of symptoms related to toxicity. Trade in harsh chemical cleaners for green cleaners. Install a water filter if you can afford it. Replace your PVC vinyl shower curtain with cotton, hemp, or more ecofriendly PEVA. Replace plastic containers and nonstick cookware in the kitchen with glass, ceramic, or stainless steel if you can. Get rid of your kids’ flame-resistant-coated pajamas — and flame-resistant everything. Stop using chemical lawn treatments. Stops using chemical air freshener sprays and plug-ins. Eat clean and well. You can also organically & safely detox your body without harsh starvation methods by doing The Ultimate Reset. You can completely reset your entire body in 3 short weeks and rid yourself of all the ugly toxins stored in your body! Pair that with the other steps above and you are well on your way to living a better life. Feeling better, sleeping better, & living longer!



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