The type of gut bacteria you have could be influencing your health and you don’t realize it. We should have a ratio of about 85% good bacteria to about 15% bad bacteria living in our digestive tract but for most people that relationship is inversed. Yes! That means 85% bad bacteria!

The issue is that these bacteria effect a lot more than just our digestive system. They can have far reaching effects. Depression and anxiety are linked to this imbalance, as are auto immune issues, behavioral problems in children and many of the chronic disease we are seeing today.                             

The “gut” is basically the digestive system.  However, it does so much more than just digest the food we eat.  The gut helps to regulate metabolism and weight, and is responsible for most of our immune system response.  It is estimated that 70% of our immune system is controlled in the gut.  It communicates with the brain and regulates our sleep and our moods.

The problem is that we have been putting almost anything in our mouth and expecting our digestive system to deal with it.  It is a part of our body most people take very little care of.  Most of us don’t realize the harm they are doing without even realizing it.  You may be thinking, “Well, I’m not sick, my gut is fine”.  Unfortunately, the problems in the gut usually go unnoticed until there is a bigger problem.

Many of the physical and mental disorders that plague America today start in the digestive system.  Gastrointestinal illnesses are on the rise, many that we had never heard of before.  Acid reflux, IBS, colitis, diverticulosis, Crohn’s to name a few.  Even seemingly unrelated issues such as autism, heart disease, arthritis can be traced back to the gut.

The problem occurs when the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria.  The bad bacteria damage the small intestine.  The small intestine’s job is to absorb nutrients from the food we eat but when it is damaged it cannot do this well.  Eventually, the damage can cause microscopic perforations in the lining of the small intensities causing Leaky Gut Syndrome.   As the food particles are permitted to leak into the blood, it can cause all kinds of issues.  Food allergies and sensitivities, as well as skin conditions, such as eczema. These substances can even cross the blood-brain barrier and cause anxiety, depression, mood swings and behavioral problems in children.

Researchers have discovered across the board that children with autism all have these types of issues in their digestive systems.   

The Standard American Diet (SAD) that we have been eating for the past generation has allowed the bad bacteria to proliferate. This coupled with a diet high in processed foods and low in nutrition has created dysfunction within the gut.

The good news is that the body will heal itself, given half a chance.  Once you realize how important your digestive system is to your overall well-being, you may feel motivated to give the good bacteria a fighting chance.  After all, they are on our side! 

First you need to stop feeding the bad bacteria. By removing food that converts quickly to sugar feed the bad bacteria, by doing this we can rework the balance of bacteria in the digestive system.  Then we give the good bacteria what it needs in the form of prebiotics and probiotics, with fermented food and supplements.

I have had clients that have seen their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms disappear, had anxiety alleviate, behavior and mood issues improve, not to mention solving digestive issues like IBS and colitis.

Dysfunction in the gut is an issue for almost all of us, as very few people today have a properly functioning digestive system.  There are many ways to optimize this important system of the body.  I will be teaching classes on digestive health and its many benefits in both Southgate and Monroe. If you are unable to attend these classes but are interested in more information, please contact me. 

Learn the age old secrets to keeping yourself healthy.  Clean up your gut, and your health and feel better!  

All Disease Starts in the Gut

Southgate –Asher School

Mondays – 3 weeks (2 hour class)
April 8 – April 22
6:30-8:30pm
Click here to Register

Monroe County Community College

Thursdays – 6 Week Class
May 2 – June 6
6:30-7:30pm
To Register, Call: 734-384-4127

We hear more and more about mercury in the environment. One of the sources of mercury exposure is amalgam dental fillings. You know the ones we all had as kids, the “silver fillings”, these actually contain mercury.

Amalgam fillings are made from a variety of metals, 50% mercury along with a combination of silver, tin, copper and sometimes zinc. The problem with these fillings is that they can emit mercury vapor. Studies have found the amount of vapor from amalgams can vary from 1- 3 micrograms per day to 27 micrograms per day.

The World Health Organization has stated that the exposure to mercury vapor from fillings can significantly increase with activities such as grinding of the teeth, chewing gum, and drinking carbonated drinks. There could be five times the amount of mercury vapor being emitted due to these practices.

The U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination, in 2001, conducted a survey of 31,000 adults and found that the number of dental fillings they had correlated to the incidence of cancer, mental conditions, thyroid conditions, neurological issues (including MS), diseases of the respiratory system, and diseases of the eye.  Although, the FDA and several Supreme Court justices determined that “the correlations do not sufficiently demonstrate causation.”

Swedish studies indicate a 78% improvement in pre-existing neurological and Chronic Fatigue-type symptoms when amalgam fillings were removed.  However, in the U.S. official studies hired by the FDA and National Institute of Health stated that “the current data is insufficient to support an association between mercury release from amalgams and the various complaints that have been attributed to this restorative material.”

Scandinavian countries banned the use of these fillings back in 2008, however here in the U.S. approximately 47% of dentists are still using amalgam fillings. In fact, several years ago we had a pediatric dentist ask us if we wanted to pay extra for composite fillings (white fillings) because our insurance would only pay for amalgams!

According to the American Dental Association and the FDA amalgams are “a safe restorative material”. However, there are many dentists who disagree. Some who have suffered the health consequences first hand and have seen their health improve as the fillings were safely removed. If you are considering having these fillings removed, look for a dentist specializing in safe removal of amalgams.

Want to learn more about natural dental care and how dental issues can significantly impact the health of the body and how to cure them?

Heal Thy Mouth, Heal Thy Body and Strengthen Your Immune System

Southgate – Asher School
2 Hour Class Monday March 11 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
REGISTER HERE

Monroe County Community College
Thursday March 21 7:45 – 8:45 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
TO REGISTER, CALL  734-384-4127

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…An old saying but is just as true today.

So how do to ensure that you stay healthy, especially this time of year?

 

Wash Hands – I do not advocate using hand sanitizer constantly but it is easy to pick up germs when we are out and about. Hand sanitizer is not as effective as washing your hands, so wash when you come home, before eating, try not to touch eyes, nose and ears before washing your hands and encourage your kids to wash their hands when they come home from the germ-factory (otherwise known as school!).

Vitamin D – optimizing vitamin D is essential to immune health. Living in the Great Lakes area, leaves us vulnerable in the winter. The cloud cover (caused by the lakes) means that we don’t get much sunshine and the cold temps mean that we aren’t out in the sunshine much, thereby leading to low vitamin D levels in most people. Use Vitamin D3, not Vitamin D2 as it is synthetic and our bodies don’t know what to do with it. Be aware the Vitamin D that is in milk is D2! Supplement with D3 and have your levels checked occasionally, Vitamin D can build up in the body over time.

Avoid sugar and white foods – while these foods seem to be most people’s favorite, they definitely leave the immune system more vulnerable. Watch how much bread, pasta, rice and dairy you are eating, especially if those around you are sick or if you are feeling run down or stressed. Believe it or not, eliminating these foods when the immune system is stressed can keep you from getting ill.

Fermented Foods – Try eating or drinking some fermented foods each day. Some people swear by this! Try kombucha (fermented iced tea), properly made sauerkraut or pickles or kvass (a drink made from beets).

Sleep – even just a couple of nights of poor quality or not enough sleep can wear the body out and leave your immune system susceptible. This is another good time to watch what you eat! Don’t discount the power of sleep to resist illness and disease. The body repairs and rejuvenates while we sleep. If you do get sick, sleep is one of the best ways to get you back to health.

Many of these health tips aren’t just for colds and flu, most of them can actually protect us from chronic disease like high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer!

 

Want to learn more ways to stay healthy and the best ways to recover as fast as possible if you or your family does get sick? Join me for my next class:

 

Strengthen Your Immune System and Heal Thy Mouth, Heal Thy Body

Southgate – Asher School
2 Hour Class Monday March 11 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
REGISTER HERE

Monroe County Community College
Thursday March 21 7:45 – 8:45 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
TO REGISTER, CALL  734-384-4127

When we think of women’s health concerns, some specific items immediately come to mind. Breast cancer, hormonal issues, thyroid problems to name a few. These health concerns are on the rise and we have to wonder, what are these issues stemming from?

Breast cancer has been at the forefront of women’s health for many years. There are several potential risk factors for breast cancer but most women are unaware that something they are doing to try to protect themselves could actually do more harm than good. There is quite a bit of controversy over the safety of mammograms.

Mammograms produce ionizing radiation, which can be potentially harmful. Many studies cite the fact the rates of breast cancer have increased with the use of mammograms. There is also a concern over the compression that mammograms use, if there are cancer cells present, the compression could potentially cause them to spread.

Early detection is still very important, as well as monitoring changes in breast tissue. There is a little known, outside of the natural health world, alternative. Thermography uses infrared photography to detect abnormal patterns in the temperature of the body. This technology can actually detect a potential issue in the breast tissue when it is too small for a mammogram to detect it.

One of the factors implicated in breast cancer is an imbalance in hormones. Did you know that chemicals in our body care products can actually cause these imbalances ? Women are particularly susceptible to exposure to these chemicals because of the amount of personal care products and cosmetics we use. Many of us aren’t ready to give up these products but the good news is that better alternatives exist.

Women are also at higher risk from our environment. Even in 2019, women still use more cleaning products in the home than men and conventional cleaners are highly toxic. They have been linked to respiratory illness, endocrine issues as well as certain types of cancers.

The good news is that women usually have greater responsibility for the buying decisions for household items and groceries. We can avoid the endocrine disrupting chemicals and external hormones which can adversely affect our health and the health of our growing children, when we know what to avoid. Being informed about the healthiest products and “cleanest” food will allow you to make the best choices for your health and the health of your family.

Want to learn more? Join me for a class! Can’t make a class? Book an hour consultation to get all the information and get your questions answered.

Southgate – Asher School
2 Hour Class Monday March 4 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
REGISTER HERE

Monroe County Community College
Wednesday May 1 630 – 7:30 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
TO REGISTER, CALL  734-384-4127

 

Want to change your skincare and cosmetics to a natural, healthier alternative but don’t know where to start? Limelife is a very good brand and the brand I use and offer my clients.

LL Logo Goes Here

For more information, contact me for a 20-minute free consult or browse the products at: www.limelifebyalcone.com/theresaedmunds

What are Essential Oils?

Most people have heard of essential oils but what are they exactly? They are the naturally occurring oils which can be extracted from all the parts of a plant including roots, stems, bark, leaves, flowers and fruit. Called “essential oils” because after distillation, the “essential” core or undiluted essence of the plant remains.

Many assume that because essential oils are made from a natural source, they are not very potent. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Essential oils are approximately 75% stronger than dried herbs.

When considering plants as medicine, we have to consider that herbs have a long history of curing aliments both in this country and around the world. Much of Chinese and Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine is based on prescribing specific herbs and in fact, many American doctors today are turning back to plants and herbs to treat patients. Turmeric’s more recent popularity would be one example.

So if herbs are effective medicine, certainly essential oils’ compounds, that are more concentrated, could have a significant impact on the body and mind. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years to treat and cure conditions, they are even referenced several times in the bible.

Many plants have natural anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti viral and antimicrobial properties, which are some of the properties that make essential oils so powerful.

The phytochemicals contained within the oils have different health properties. Each individual oil can contain hundreds of phytochemicals! While scientists have identified many of these health giving properties, science is still determining all of the health benefits these compounds offer.

When diffusing an essential oil or just smelling an oil from the bottle you are breathing in the vapor in the form of tiny oil molecules which contain the same healing properties as the oil. These phytochemicals can have a powerful affect on the body and brain. These properties are also at work when using an oil topically.

Essential oils can be used for a wide range of conditions. From skin issues, like burns and acne, dental concerns, respiratory issues, digestion, headache, joint aches, muscle aches, stress relief, blood pressure concerns, blood sugar issues and more. Scientist have even found that several oils have anti-cancer benefits.

 

To learn more about essential oils and how to use them join me for me for one of my upcoming classes:

 

Southgate – Asher School
2 Hour Class Monday February 25 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
REGISTER HERE

Monroe County Community College
Thursday March 14 630 – 7:30 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
TO REGISTER, CALL  734-384-4127

Homeopathy refers to a type of medicine that was developed by German physician, Samuel Hahnemann in 1796 and is still in use today. While conducting research he realized that while a large amount of a specific substance could cause a health condition in the body (example poison ivy), a minuscule amount of the same substance could create a healing reaction.

As Dr. Hahnemann conducted more trials, he found that hundreds of conditions could be treated with homeopathy and outlined his findings for other physicians to use in a book called Materia Medica.

Today, homeopathy is available to the general public for home use and can be beneficial for a wide range of conditions. Allergies, asthma, eczema, fever, coughs, arthritis, warts, even trauma and anxiety are just a few, the list goes on and on. Homeopathic doctors treat all kinds of chronic issues including high blood pressure, depression and asthma to name a few.

Homeopathic medicine is used extensively in Germany as well as in 40 out of the 42 European countries. In fact 30% of Europe’s population use homeopathy as their day-to-day-health care. It’s also popular in other countries around the world. In India, 100 million citizens use it as their sole source of medical care and several countries including Switzerland, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Brazil and Chile include the use homeopathy in their national health systems.

In America we have a largely unknown, forgotten history with homeopathy. It was introduced to America by Hans Burch Gram, a Dutch immigrant, in 1825 and became more popular as German homeopaths immigrated to the U.S.

Homeopathy continued to grow in popularity through the 1800’s and many prestigious doctors recognized its benefits. Towards the end of the century there were 22 homeopathic medical colleges and 100 homeopathic hospitals in the U.S. In 1844, these doctors formed the first medical national organization, The American Institute of Homeopathy.

Doctors not practicing homeopathy were called orthodox physicians. In 1846 these doctors created their own medical society, The American Medical Association (still in existence today). One its first actions was to purge itself of any doctor who used homeopathy.

There had been a growing conflict between the two factions. The AMA was threatened by homeopathy’s more integrative approach as well as the fact that the middle to upper classes preferred homeopathy. By 1855, the AMA had set a new mandate that orthodox practitioners would lose their license to practice if they even consulted with a homeopathic physician, calling homeopaths “irregular doctors”.

In 1910, the Flexner report, supported by the AMA, was released. Its guidelines reshaped the US medical system. Colleges should adhere to only “mainstream science”, curriculums should teach orthodox medicine only and only graduates from colleges teaching orthodox medicine would be licensed to practice medicine. By 1923, only 2 homeopathic colleges would remain in the U.S.

These new restrictions combined with heavy funding for orthodox colleges and the new medical model of physicians spending only a few minutes with each patient, caused steep decline in homeopathic physicians in this country.

The popularity of homeopathy saw a resurgence in popularity beginning in the 1970, with individuals beginning to educate themselves and use homeopathy at home. By the 1980s, there were over 1000 homeopathic practitioners in the U.S., up from only 100 in the ’70. Naturopathic colleges started to bring homeopathy back into the curriculum by the 1990s. Conventional doctors started to consider the benefits of homeopathy and there are now several training programs available for doctors.

The best news about homeopathy’s resurgence is the opportunity for lay people to use these remedies to benefit their health. It is wonderful way to correct health conditions in a completely natural way with no side effects. It is also a great alternative to over-the-counter medications.

To learn more about homeopathic remedies and how to use them join me for me for one of my upcoming classes:

 

Southgate – Asher School
2 Hour Class Monday February 25 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
REGISTER HERE

Monroe County Community College
Thursday March 14 7:45 – 8:45 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
TO REGISTER, CALL  734-384-4127

There has been a lot of talk about the Keto diet lately. Maybe you’ve heard the talk, maybe you’ve tried the diet. There is also a fair amount of confusion about “Keto”. Keto is short for Ketogenic and refers to a process the body uses to burn fat for fuel as opposed to carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are easy for the body to use and when we are eating a fair amount of carbs the body doesn’t have to use fat for fuel. However, if the carbohydrates are not the primary diet for the body, it will convert to burning fat or go into a state of ketosis. During ketosis, the body will burn the fat we eat for fuel and also the excess fat that is stored on the body, which is what will lead to weight loss on the diet.

The Ketogenic diet was originally a medically prescribed diet for Epileptic seizures in children. It was found to prevent or dramatically reduce seizures and after a time many children never experience seizures again even after stopping the Ketogenic diet. More recently, it has been found to significantly impact diabetes, auto immune issues and even certain cancers.

One reason the Keto diet has such medical benefit is that an over-consumption of carbohydrates causes body to create toxic byproducts which affects the body at a cellular level and puts stress on the liver (our main detoxing organ). By removing excess carbs, the body starts to regenerate healthy cells and the liver can function more normally.

I originally participated in a Ketogenic diet training program with doctor who prescribes this for his patients. After learning more about the potential benefits for the body, and seeing how much confusion there is about ketosis, I decide to create a class to help people to understand how it could benefit them. Every time I have offered this class it has sold out.

It is a great way to rebalance the metabolism, loose weight, eliminate cravings, get blood sugar issues under control, detox the body, have much more energy and surprisingly more focus and clarity of thought. This was the biggest surprise for me, I feel much more energized and motivated.

I don’t believe in fad diets, I also don’t believe in yo-yo weight loss. I think the Ketogenic diet is helpful for everyone because it allows for an understanding about foods that are good for us and gives us sustained energy. We were scared away from fat and have been misinformed about healthy and unhealthy fats. We have also been misled about carbohydrates, if you look at the food pyramid, we are instructed to make refined carbohydrates the bulk of our diet. This is completely false and is leading to obesity and chronic disease.

I don’t advocate that everyone stay on the Ketogenic diet indefinitely, that should be based on your individual metabolism, health and lifestyle. What I do advocate is that everyone try the Keto diet (even temporarily or as a cleanse) so that you can understand its principles and make it work for you and your lifestyle. Once you understand what healthy carbs are, what fats are truly healthy and how much protein we should be eating, you can move into a healthier way of eating that works for you. Not just because it is healthier but because you will actually feel better.

My Keto classes this semester are:

Southgate – Asher School
Monday, February 11 6:30-8:30pm
REGISTER HERE

Monroe County Community College
Thursday, February 28 6:30-8:30pm
FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
TO REGISTER, CALL  734-384-4127

New!!! In-depth Keto

(2 week/ 2 hour classes)

This class will provide a jump-start into the Ketogenic diet with all the resources you need to be successful. In addition to the information presented in the regular Ketogenic Diet class, this class will provide meal ideas, grocery lists, meal prep suggestions, as well as a two-week format to support your progress and get all your questions answered.

Southgate – Asher School
March 18 and 25 6:30-8:30pm
REGISTER HERE

Monroe County Community College
April 17 and 24 6:30-8:30pm
FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
TO REGISTER, CALL  734-384-4127

“Don’t eat anything your great great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” — Michael Pollan

Do you brown bag? Do you send your kids to school with a packed lunch? Does your child buy the school lunch? Do you go out to lunch at the local restaurant? These are the choices we all face every day.

Many people who are reading this try to do the right thing and make better choices for lunch.

The first problem is that marketing of food can be deceptive. You can’t believe all the health claims you read on packaging.

Another issue is that our children want to eat like their friends and it is hard to send them with a healthy lunch every day. And, truthfully, most of us have so many issues going on in our gut that we often have cravings and are powerless to actually make a healthy choice.

Big food companies have caught on to the trend toward healthier eating. Many of the companies that used to provide healthier food choices in the grocery store have been bought out by larger corporations. Many of the foods that are advertised as healthier alternatives or “natural” really are not.

Have you looked at the school lunch menu recently? Mini tacos, pizza, hamburgers, cheese-filled breadsticks, chocolate milk — and the list goes on. Is it any wonder childhood obesity is on the rise? The worst part is that this menu is required to meet government guidelines and it does!

Lunch meats are not good for you. Lunch meats contain nitrates and are high in sodium. These processed rolls do not resemble the animal they came from. Boar’s Head and Applegate Farms brands provide better options. Boar’s Head makes an all-natural ham, turkey or roast beef that is about the best you can get in processed, non-organic lunch meats. Applegate Farms also has organic lunch meats. Even though they are better choices they are still processed meats.

Restaurants of all types and price ranges are in the business of buying food at the lowest possible prices. Even places that market themselves as healthier alternatives to fast food serve conventional vegetables and meat and poultry products from the same factory farms that supply the fast food industry. A good rule is the more convenient the food, usually the worse it is for you.

So what is a person to do? Know where your food comes from! The most important thing is to make knowing where your food comes from the No. 1 priority. Until you make this a priority, you can’t take charge of your health.

How was it grown? How was it raised? What was it fed? Which pesticides were used to grow it? Which chemicals or medicines were used to raise the food? What was the environment like where the animals were raised? Has this food been genetically modified? Has the animal been raised on genetically modified food? How has it been processed?

These are not always pleasant things to discover but all of these things matter and directly impact our health. When did not wanting to know what we are eating become the norm? Truthfully, we ask more about our sports teams and ask more questions of our car mechanics than we do about the food we put into our bodies every day.

We need to look at the cheap food we are consuming. We use the term “cheap” as a derogatory term for everything except food. We get excited when food is cheap. Cheap food is cheap for a reason. The good news is that once you make the decision to prioritize your food sources, better options are available.

Lunch choices need to go back to what people ate in the 1950s. Try cooking organic, antibiotic-free chicken the night before or in the morning and make a salad or sandwich from that. Leftovers make great lunches and save money.

How much are you spending per day per person on lunch? Organic fruits and vegetables are great lunch options and pack easily and do not require refrigeration.

So as the school year winds down and your child is at home for the summer, take the time to evaluate your health priorities. Start thinking about where your food comes from and look for better options. For most people, lunch is the most challenging meal of the day to try to eat healthy. Try making your own lunch and start getting ideas for what you can pack your child next school year.

Use the summer break to build healthier eating habits for your child so that he or she will be more willing to accept the lunch options that you pack for them during the coming school year.

Find local food sources at localharvest.org.

 

Originally published in The News Herald column Food for Thought by Theresa Edmunds.

Have you ever gone to a baby shower? Everyone loads up the expectant mother with all of the newest and latest baby gear.

Have you ever sat in a new car? You know that “new car smell?” That is an example of off-gassing from vinyl and plastic products. So is that film that magically appears on the windshield of a new car every few weeks.

All new plastic, vinyl, varnished, synthetic materials emit gas, including new baby items.

Did you get a new crib and mattress? What is in that mattress? Fire-retardant chemicals. Be careful of pajamas, too. Many also contain fire-retardant chemicals.

Are you nursing naturally or buying formula? What kind of formula? Does it contain soy? Are you using tap water or filtered water in your formula? Are you microwaving the formula to heat it up? Are you using plastic bottles to feed the baby? New government regulations require biphenyl A-free plastic in baby bottles but what else is in that plastic that we don’t know about?

What about the paint in the baby’s room? Is it low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds)? Is there wallpaper or new carpet in the room? What about electronics? They can create electromagnetic fields.

How about what we put on our babies? There is a huge market in baby skin care products. Baby shampoo, lotion, diaper rash cream — the list goes on and on. Do babies really need all of these products? The answer is no.

Most of these products contain chemicals and toxins and can be absorbed through the skin. Babies have about double the skin surface per body weight as adults, which means they can absorb a higher ratio of chemicals through the skin. Most baby skin care products are completely unnecessary.

The few that may be necessary from time to time can easily be made with natural ingredients or more natural commercially made products can be purchased.

Our pediatrician recommended we steer clear of diaper cream and use petroleum jelly. Now I know petroleum products may not be good for us. There is a risk of PAHs or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are cancer-causing chemicals found in crude oil and its byproducts.

While there are no studies linking cancer to petroleum products, I think it is better to err on the side of caution, especially when there are natural alternatives available.

How about diapers — disposable or cloth? And diaper wipes are something most of us don’t even think about. These have ingredients that we may not want our baby’s skin. Not only are we wiping these across our child’s skin several times a day, but it’s also remaining on the child’s skin until with bathe them.

This means ingredients are on our baby’s skin almost constantly until they are out of diapers. The same pediatrician recommended that we use water and cloths for the first few weeks of our son’s life. When a mainstream pediatrician is making that recommendation, it makes me think wipes perhaps aren’t as harmless as we think.

Think about your cleaning products. Spray chemicals become airborne and we breathe them in. Did you know babies breathe more air per body weight than adults do? That can increase their exposure to airborne toxins. There are natural alternatives to every cleaning product you are using today.

Be careful about baby’s laundry, too. I am not a fan of conventional baby detergent. How dirty are your baby’s clothes? Use natural laundry only when necessary and skip the fabric softener, which leaves residue and chemical fragrance on clothes.

Vaccinations are another concern for many parents. There has been a lot of news about inoculations in the news in the last few years.

Be aware the vaccination protocol has changed since we were children. In the 1970s, children received 23 doses of seven vaccines by age 6. Today’s 6-year-olds may have received 48 doses of 14 different vaccines, up to eight on a single day.

In the 1970s, the first vaccine was administered at two months old; today it is at 12 hours old. Many health care professionals are concerned about the general public educating themselves about vaccines; however it is your responsibility and right as a parent to do some research and make the most informed decision for your child.

Which first foods are you going to feed your baby? Is it going to be organic? Are you going to start with rice cereal? You might be thinking: Isn’t that what everyone starts feeding their baby? Well, actually no.

Rice cereal is a processed refined carbohydrate. Before processed food and commercial baby food, people fed babies the same type of food they were cooking for the rest of the family. Many parents are returning to this traditional way of feeding baby.

Will you cook your baby’s food in non-stick cookware? Not a good idea.

Are you going to warm your baby’s food in the microwave? Consider the word “microwave” — micro means small, “waves” of what? Radiation. I don’t think radiating our food is a good idea.

We are learning that even after delivery, there are many challenges to keeping our babies safe that continue through infancy into the toddler stage and on through childhood.

These issues are most important for our children, especially babies. Their immune and central nervous systems are immature and vulnerable to exposure from chemicals. Their bodies are not as capable of eliminating toxins. Their brains and bodies are still developing and we don’t know what exposure to these things can mean for their long-term development.

We all know having a baby is a big responsibility and adding this list of items can seem overwhelming.

Just realize that most of these items are choices — choosing a healthier alternative over a conventional one. Once you understand the risks, you are better equipped to make the right choices for you and your little one.

 

Originally published in The News Herald column Food for Thought by Theresa Edmunds.

Infertility is at an all-time high in our society, with one in six couples having difficulty conceiving.

Thirty percent of fertility issues are classified as “unexplained” and a large percentage are considered hormonal issues. Many of these problems can be rectified with lifestyle and diet changes.

Last week, I talked about changes to our diet. This week we will focus on how our environment can cause difficulty with conception. This is called preconception care and many couples have had healthy babies through these types of efforts.

Couples need to be concerned about many environmental factors. Plastics contain BPA, a chemical which is a known endocrine disruptor. Our endocrine system is responsible for production and regulation of our hormones, and our hormones play an integral role in conception. Remove as many plastics from your life as possible, including food storage containers, plastic wrap and water bottles, to name a few.

Phthalates found in plastics, body care products and cosmetics also disrupt our hormonal system. In high levels, phthalates have been linked to miscarriage.

Women are at particular risk due to all of the body care products that we use — perfume, makeup, wet hair products, dry hair products, day cream, night cream, eye cream, hand cream, body lotion and all the other potions. Minimize all body care products and cosmetics and replace the ones you need with natural alternatives.

Heavy metals also are a concern, especially for men. Studies show that sperm are susceptible to damage from heavy metals. Removing sources of heavy metals is important for both men and women.

Start by filtering your water — not only your drinking water but also your bath water. A whole house filter is the best option but there are other options available.

It is also important to watch your intake of fish and seafood. Learn which fish has less chance of contamination. Generally, larger fish and farm-raised fish should be avoided.

Canned products can be a source of aluminum and BPAs. Avoid them whenever possible and buy frozen vegetables instead.

If you have amalgam fillings you may need to have them properly removed, as they are a dangerous source of mercury. Some people may need to detox some of the heavy metals from their system.

Pesticides should be avoided. In addition to many dangerous chemicals in pesticides, PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) chemicals are known to affect hormone function. This is why moms-to-be and dads-to be should be eating organic.

Chemicals found in cleaning products are a major concern. Not only do the products contain dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde, but many of them become airborne. We spray them and inhale them or they are present in steam from showers or dishwashers. All cleaners, including things like air fresheners and dryer sheets, should not be used. Make your own natural cleaners or purchase natural-based cleaners.

If you are struggling to have a child, consider making some changes to your environment. Removing toxins from your diet and environment can only benefit your health and in the process may be the help your body needs to conceive a healthy child.

Next week will focus on how vitamin and mineral deficiencies can affect fertility.

 

Originally published in The News Herald column Food for Thought by Theresa Edmunds.