Staying safe in a toxic world


This past year Americans have been exposed to more outbreaks of Hepatitis A. SARS last year’s threat has reappeared in China, although in smaller numbers the health risk remains. Physicians caution those traveling to Mexico to take precautions to prevent infection from various kinds of parasites. Our own homes can be a hot bed of infectious agents. In fact the NIH has released a new study which clearly shows a large percentage of gastrointestinal infections are contracted in the home.

By now you might be thinking it would just be safer to isolate and avoid exposure. Even if we could that would not prove to be good for us either.

First things first. Take good care of your immunity. A healthy immune system is your best defense. Eat balanced meals with whole foods, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and drink purified water only. Balance your life with rest, work and play, family and friends and use a high quality vitamin and mineral complex. A healthy spiritual life has also been proven to boost immunity.

Use herbs to strengthen your immunity during times of stress. "The power house five" ginger, milk thistle, ginseng, tumeric and licorice can be purchased very inexpensively and used to keep a constitution strong.

Ginger is good to relieve nausea and upset that can accompany GI symptoms. It raises the metabolism and boosts immunity.

Milk thistle is good to detox the body and especially the liver where many environmental toxins are stored. Use this herb when your body is achy tired or sore, or when your dietary indiscretions have left you feeling under the weather.

Ginseng is known as an adaptogen. This powerful herb boosts energy, immunity and your mood.

Tumeric, the red spice in the kitchen cupboard, helps fight free radical damage that can lead to cancer and other serious chronic degenerative diseases.

Licorice helps balance hormones and is good for what ails the body. Do not use this herb if your are diabetic.

Don’t wait until you’re really sick to use echinachea, goldenseal, or astralagus – all good for colds and flu. Use them at the first sign of any symptoms, if you think you’ve been exposed or if you are overly tired.

What else can one do? Study after study shows the single most valuable tool for stopping the spread of disease is hand washing. Wash your hands several times throughout the day. Forget the antibacterial soap, which causes severe dryness and cracking and destroys the friendly bacteria that reside on your skin and help keep you safe. Antibacterial soaps have not been shown to reduce the risk of infection.

Wash all food thoroughly. When washing raw foods use a solution of 1/4c hydrogen peroxide in a sink of water. A 20-minute bath will remove many of the harmful pesticides and herbicides and will destroy most of the bacteria and any parasites that might be harbored in those leafy vegetables.

If you have a compromised immune system you would be wise to limit your exposure to situations that may put you at risk. For these individuals staying safe in a toxic world takes on a whole new meaning. Journaling can help you discover where or when you feel the worst and how to protect yourself from those agents. Be suspicious of everything, (until proven otherwise) the new carpet, strong chemicals, perfumes, dyes in foods, medicines or new clothing. What you find may surprise you.

Staying healthy in a polluted environment can be done. Use common sense, and these tried and true methods to help protect your health. Till next time, Rebecca