Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to Get More Sunlight During the Cooler Months

It’s pretty obvious as the summer comes to a close and autumn begins that the days are growing shorter. Unfortunately, shorter daylight hours cause the condition Seasonal Affective Disorder, also called SAD or seasonal depression. Some people begin to feel “down” because their body physically needs more sunlight than others. Here’s how to get more sunlight during the cool months despite the fact that the days are shorter.

Cairngorm autumn
Autumn. (Photo credit: GaggieITMI)
As much as possible, it is important to get outdoors every day - even on the coldest days of the year. Even though the temperatures are cold, getting at least 20 minutes of direct sunlight a day can do wonders for helping to stave off seasonal depression. Of course, the more skin you have getting direct sunlight the better, but even if you can only get sun on your face and hands, that’s better than nothing.

Bundle yourself up and go for a walk in the autumn leaves, or if there is snow where you live, get out in the snow. Take along a camera and get shots of the beauty of the season. By having the camera with you, hopefully it will encourage you to spend more time outdoors.

Try a fall or winter sport. There are so many cool weather sports to choose from – ice hockey, ice skating and snowboarding are winter sports you can try. If those sports aren’t to your liking; you can get involved in sledding, skiing or a family snowball fight.

Adjust your schedule during the fall and winter months so you get out of bed when the sun comes up and are winding down when it sets. This will allow you to experience as much daylight as possible. When you rise, open the blinds or curtains and let in as much sunlight as possible to brighten the room and your day. It is also helpful to avoid over sleeping no matter how much you want to stay snuggled under the covers.

English: A 30 kHz bright light therapy lamp (I...
A 30 kHz bright light therapy lamp (Innosol Rondo) used to treat seasonal affective disorder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Change the light bulbs in your home to bulbs that produce the most natural light. If the days are dark and dreary, light therapy (phototherapy) bulbs in the lamps where you spend the most time can help greatly. These bulbs give off light that is similar to sunlight. Since it mimics sunlight, it causes your body to produce the chemical melatonin. The more melatonin you have in your system, the less likely you are to experience the effects of SAD.

If you regularly experience severe problems with depression during the cooler months, you may want to consider moving to a location where the sun shines more. While we won’t dispute living in the northern states is beautiful and has many benefits, places like Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico have more sun during the fall and winter months, so you may want to take a cue from the birds and move south.

For most people, it isn’t practical to move with the seasons. If this is the case for you, perhaps regular visits to tanning salons during the cooler months can help. While daily tanning isn’t recommended, even an hour a week can really make a difference.  Look for a salon that:

1. Is within your budget
2. Is located within your area and has convenient hours
3. Has impeccable standards for cleanliness
4. Owns up-to-date equipment

Even while using these methods to get more sunlight in the cooler months, you may want to start taking vitamin D supplements, particularly during the fall and winter. This is especially important in cooler climates, where it is very difficult to get as much sunlight as your body really needs at this time of year. Eating foods high in vitamin D such as fish, eggs, mushrooms, spinach and potatoes is also a good idea to help you avoid the SAD this winter.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

7 Cool Weather Activities to Elevate Your Endorphins & Reduce Toxins

If you have exercised at all in the past, you know how good you feel afterwards. The reason for the rush of energy and improved outlook after working out is because the body produces chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals cause what is often called a “runner’s high” where pain and discomfort disappear and a sense of euphoria is common. Vigorous exercise also helps rid your body of toxins, both through your lungs and sweat glands. So not only do you feel better, you actually are healthier!

You don’t have to work out in a gym to get these benefits of exercise. In fact, most strenuous activity will produce these results. Here are seven cool weather activities that will help elevate your endorphins and cleanse your body of toxins this fall.

Maniac ran so fast that when he passed you, wo...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Running is an activity most people can do. It’s great for burning calories and for cardiovascular health in addition to giving you an endorphin boost and ridding your body of toxins through sweating and heavy breathing. If you’re new to running, start out slow and add just a few minutes to each day until you reach you’re desired speed and distance. Don’t forget to wear a good pair of running shoes to ensure your feet are safe from injury and comfortable.

2. Hiking and backpacking are great activities for cooler weather. Check your local area for ready-made hiking paths or backpacking trails. If you don’t want to go alone, call your local park and recreation office to see if they have any resources for group guided hikes. The fresh air of the outdoors will help cleanse your lungs and invigorate you.

3. Bicycling has long been an enjoyable year-round activity. The benefit of bicycling during the cooler weather is that there is less risk of heat related illnesses. In popular tourist areas, you may find less traffic during the cooler season too.

Horseback riding Bahamas 2003
Horseback riding. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
4. Horseback riding is another activity that people enjoy year-round. Scout your area for riding stables that offer guided trail rides. Guided tours, especially those that provide the horse too, will charge for their services but the exhilaration you will feel afterwards will be well worth it.

5. Tennis can be played any time of the year, but playing in the cooler weather will make it more pleasant. Sure, you will still break a sweat, but the cooler temperatures and possible breeze will refresh you as you play.

6. Backyard football is not only for young boys. Adults can enjoy a good game of touch football and the endorphins produced will have you feeling great all day. Gather family and friends to enjoy a game in the yard or a nearby park. You’ll be glad you did.

7. Raking and removing leaves is something many people do out of necessity. But it’s also a great way to pile on the endorphins and relieve toxic stress. Instead of using your lawn mower to vacuum the leaves, grab your trusty rake. Not only will you clear your lawn of leaves but you’ll also clear your head.

Fresh air, crisp temperatures and an hour of vigorous activity is all it takes to elevate your endorphins and help cleanse your body of toxins. Not only will you feel great throughout the day, you will have less stress, clearer skin, more mental clarity and get a better nights rest.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

About The Sustainable Furniture Council

Unless you’re involved in the interior design or furniture manufacturing industry or are deeply involved in the green movement, you may not have heard of the Sustainable Furniture Council.  However, they are an organization worth getting to know.

The Sustainable Furniture Council (recently renamed the Sustainable Furnishings Council) is a non-profit group of suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, and designers formed to promote sustainable practices in their industry.  Members of the SFC believe that we’re facing dangerous global climate changes and it’s our responsibility to take action.  They believe in taking steps to minimize carbon emissions, waste stream pollutants, un-recyclable content and primary materials from unsustainable sources.

The SFC Life Cycle Assessment 

The Life Cycle Assessment, or LCA, is a system of requirements that must be met to qualify for FTC environmental marketing guides and attorney general green guides.  Meaning, you cannot say you’re environmentally friendly without having gone through a life cycle assessment to prove you are.  It’s a standardization process to make sure all claims are valid and all products are equal.

So What is a Life Cycle Assessment?

In order to obtain sustainable product certification, the LCA identifies twelve environmental benefits or impacts including:

English: Streamlined Life Cycle Assessment Mat...
Streamlined Life Cycle Assessment Matrix for all alternatives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Global Warming
2. Acidification
3. Ozone Depletion
4. Eutrophication, (the effect on our water supply when it receives too many nutrients from chemical fertilizers and run off)
5. Photochemical Smog
6. Human Health
7. Ecological Toxicity
8. Fossil Fuel Depletion
9. Habitat Alteration
10. Criteria Air Pollutants
11. Water Intake
12. Solid and Hazardous Waste

How does the LCA affect the SFC? 

The SFC believe that the LCA is the best method for analyzing the environmental impact of their products, which include all the materials that go into their products.  They have goals that include:

* Raising awareness of the sustainability issue
* Assisting companies in adopting good practices
* Serving as an information clearing house for sustainability
* Creating a symbol of assurance for consumers (companies and products can obtain an SFC member certification to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices)

The SFC really does support what they call the triple bottom line of PEOPLE - PLANET – PROFITS.  They’re leaders in the industry and are setting the standards in sustainable furniture and design manufacturing. You can find more about them on their website:

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Which Is Greener - Handcrafted Furniture or Mass-Produced Furniture?

There’s a bit of a debate between furniture manufacturers, designers and environmentalists about which practice is most sustainable: handcrafted furniture or mass-produced furniture.  Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each so you can decide for yourself.

Guadua furniture at the National Bamboo and Gu...
Guadua furniture at the National Bamboo and Guadua Investigation Center, Córdoba, Quindío, Colombia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Handcrafted Furniture

When comparing handcrafted furniture and mass-produced furniture, you’re essentially comparing apples and oranges or perhaps organic apples and oranges.  You have to look at the variables for each to decide which is better.  Initially you might think that organic apples are much better than oranges; however, if they’ve traveled from Australia to land on your table in Chicago then there is a lot of energy used and pollution created on that trip.  The same holds true for furniture.

Handcrafted furniture is the best bet if it’s created with reclaimed or sustainable wood.  For example, bamboo is a sustainable wood because it grows quite quickly and can be harvested from bamboo farms without destroying forests.

Additionally, handcrafted furniture is better if it’s stained or painted with VOC-free or low VOC finishes.

Is it upholstered?  If the answer is yes, then handcrafted furniture would be considered better than mass-produced if the upholstery is reclaimed, recycled or some type of organic and environmentally-friendly fabric.

Finally, where did that piece of furniture come from?  If it was shipped to your community all the way from China then that presents some environmental challenges because the shipping will use up all sorts of fossil fuels and pour carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

So is mass-produced furniture the answer? 

English: Eletrical wire reel used in MORAR MAI...
Project made by Dama Design to show overall concern with ecodesign and reuse of materials. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Generally, no.  In most cases, mass-produced furniture commits all of the above environmental sins and then some - including unsafe manufacturing processes, environmental pollution, chemical pollution and more.  However, as people become more and more conscious and particular about what they buy and how they contribute to the environmental situation we’re in, more and more manufacturers are answering the call.

Mass-produced furniture can be green.  It can be made with recycled materials, it can be finished with environmentally-friendly paints or stains and it can be created locally.

One way to make sure your mass-produced furniture meets sustainability standards is to check to see if the manufacturer is recognized by the SFC or Sustainable Furnishings Council.  They have a rigorous life-cycle analysis and if your manufacturer meets their approval it may very well be better than that handcrafted piece of furniture.  You can check the Sustainable Furnishings Council website to find out if a retailer or manufacturer meets their criteria. (For more about the SFC, check back for Thursday's post.)

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why Global Warming & Climate Change Can and Should Impact Your Life

Global warming is defined as the warming of the earth’s temperature.  This rise in temperature is attributed to greenhouse gases.  Unfortunately, global warming involves a lot more than just a slight rise in the earth’s temperature.  For that reason, global warming is an issue that should cause you concern.

Scientific studies on climate helped establish...
Scientific studies on climate helped establish a consensus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As previously stated, global warming involves a lot more than a slight rise in temperature.  Although the effects of global warming are widely debated, as many of these changes can also be attributed to other causes, our planet is changing.  In many aspects, it is changing relatively quickly. (This is partly why the term "climate change" has in many cases replaced "global warming", as it more accurately describes what is going on.)

When it comes to global warming, many individuals wonder why they should be concerned.  If you are one of those individuals, you will want to take a close look at the changes in which we are already seeing.  Many of these changes have been attributed to global warming.  For starters, we will focus on the temperatures.

In recent years, we have noticed a steady rise in temperatures.  From 2006 through 2012 in the United States, many cities and towns (and even whole states) have seen record breaking temperatures.  Many are also seeing a later arrival of winter weather.  For example, some areas are seeing snowfall later than normal.  These same areas are also experiencing fall and even summer like temperatures, when it should be freezing outside.

In keeping with the temperature changes, there is some confusion.  Although many areas of the United States have experienced record breaking temperature increases, others have not.  This is what leads to the confusion.  Since global warming focuses on the rise of temperature, many wonder why that isn’t always the case.  And here's why. Part of global warming involves instability in the atmosphere.  This instability can not only lead to higher temperatures in certain areas, but it can lead to erratic weather in other areas.

English: Graph summarizing some of the expecte...
Graph summarizing some of the expected impacts of Global Warming according to IPCC. Temperature deviations from 1990 readings. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Although a rise in temperature is enough to make many people believe in global warming, many others wonder what else they can expect.  Most of us will not see the drastic and horrific affects that global warming can have on the earth.  This, however, does not mean that global warming isn’t important or that it is an issue that should be pushed aside.  Even though you may not experience the full impact of global warming, your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren may.  So, the approach that you take to global warming should be a proactive one.

When it comes to being proactive, in terms of global warming, there is a lot that you can do.  Many experts believe that the sooner we stand united and take action, the sooner we can end the threat of global warming or at least reduce the impact of it.  Your goal, especially as a parent, should involve reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and other pollutants that you, yourself, put into the air.  The best way to do this is to take a look at your home and your vehicle.  Can you purchase energy saving items, such as a car, household appliances, or even light bulbs?  These are just a few of the many steps that you can and should take.

As outlined above, global warming is starting to really show its effects now.  Even those who debate global warming cannot avoid the changes that are occurring.  These changes, whether or not they are directly related to global warming, can have an impact on the earth for years to come.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Potential Effects of Global Warming

With all of the press and celebrity attention that surrounds global warming, there is a good chance that you are at least relatively familiar with this widely debated issue.  Yes, you may know that the earth’s temperature is rising and you may even know that rise is at least partly due to toxins in the environment, but do you know the affects that global warming can have on our planet, the economy, and human life in general?

Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 ...
Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 relative to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When it comes to global warming, there are many individuals who choose to believe that it is simply a myth or an untrue theory.  This is mostly due in part to the effects of global warming.  We aren’t currently seeing the horrific consequences that many predictions call for.  With that in mind, it is important to remember that many of us will not notice a lot of changes in our weather or our environment right away.  We will notice some, but many of the effects of global warming will not be seen for years to come.

As for the effects of global warming that we notice right now, we are beginning to see stronger storms. Of course, we will never forget Hurricane Katrina and the impacts it had on the Gulf Coast or even the whole country for that matter.  I'm sure many of you are also noticing an increase in stronger thunderstorms and more devastating tornadoes.

Just think of Joplin, Oklahoma, and many of the other areas that have seen absolutely devastating storms just over the past couple of years. Although stronger storms may be related to global warming, many are curious as to the numbers.  Yes, these storms, especially hurricanes, are actually decreasing in numbers, but when they do hit, many are causing far more damage than ever before.

Another affect of global warming that we are noticing now is the melting of icecaps and other glaciers. While this melting is something that has always been predicted, it is happening at a much faster rate than expected.  Many computer models predicted that the melting we are currently seeing today wouldn’t happen for at least five more years. 

Droughts are another affect of global warming that many are experiencing firsthand.  In the summer and early fall of 2007, as well as, who could forget - the record-breaking heat of 2012, many southern states, in the United States, such as Tennessee and Georgia, experienced devastating drought conditions.  In fact, these conditions are still currently a problem.  Even with water restrictions and bans, many cities, towns, and counties were concerned with the drought and their current state of having water.  In fact, many feel that they will run out of water soon if a solution is not found.

As for the future affects of global warming, we are likely to see a change in sea and wildlife.  In fact, we are starting to notice a few changes now.  This is most commonly seen with polar bears and the melting icecaps.  Many are finding it difficult to get food, as there is less ice for them to rely on.  In the future, many scientists and wildlife experts predict that polar bears will become extinct in certain areas of the world.  Until that point in time, we likely will notice changes in the ways that polar bears and other animals hunt for food.

Temperature predictions from some climate mode...
Temperature predictions from some climate models assuming the SRES A2 emissions scenario. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Flooding is also a major concern with global warming.  To many, however, flooding seems a bit ironic, especially with droughts listed as a global warming effect above.  When it comes to flooding, coastal areas are the ones that will see the changes.  The flooding predicted is likely to leave many coastal areas unlivable.  The rise in waters along many coastal areas is due in part to a combination of factors, including warming temperatures, the expansion of water, as well as the melting of glaciers and icecaps.

As previously stated, it is important to remember that global warming and the effects it can and will likely have on the earth will come in stages.  Just because you may not notice significant changes in temperature patterns or the economy right now, it does not mean that global warming does not exist or that it is an issue that we shouldn’t worry about.  The good news is that these slow moving stages may give us more time to take steps to stop global warming or at least lessen its impact.
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

7 All-Natural Fall Mood Boosters

As the summer months come to an end, it is natural for people to feel a little bit “down”. The days grow shorter, the temperatures cool and a condition known as seasonal blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sets in. If you’ve noticed a dip in your mood lately, try one or more of these all-natural mood boosters to help you feel better - without resorting to potentially harmful drugs that mess with your body and brain chemistry.

Orange mood
 (Photo credit: Pensiero)
1. Get outside. Sunlight and fresh air will do wonders for your mental state. Sunlight, even on a cloudy day, is beneficial and there’s nothing quite as rejuvenating as the crisp autumn air. So bundle up and take a brisk walk, if only for a short while. 

2. Laugh often. Laughter is invigorating. It is good for your mood as well as your health. Read a light-hearted book, watch a comedy and find humor in yourself, your family and friends. Pets can be especially funny so try spending some time with Fido. The key is to take a few moments every day to find the humor in your life.

3. Eat healthy snacks. Snacks such as cookies, candy or soft drinks are packed with refined sugar. These may give you temporary energy soon after consuming them, but you will also likely experience an energy ”crash” later a few hours later. This crash can actually make you feel worse than you did before you had the snack. Instead of high-sugar snacks, opt for healthy versions such as nuts, fruit, and cheese, along with a few whole grain snack crackers.

4. Stay active. People often become less active as the days become shorter and the temperatures cool down. Instead, it is important to maintain or increase your activity levels. Not only will you burn calories and fat, your body will produce endorphins while you’re active that improves your mood and gives you extra energy.

5. Sing and dance. You may have heard that “music soothes the savage beast.” It can also greatly affect your mood. Listen to music you love, music that makes you want to sing along and dance across the room. When you hear songs that affect you in this way, whether you actually sing and dance or not, you can’t help but to feel more positive about life.

Candles 2
Aromatic candles. (Photo credit: ElTico68)
6. Tap into your sense of smell. Aromas can also greatly affect your mood. When you think about fresh baked cookies, homemade bread, hot apple cider and heartwarming stews, chances are you feel warm and secure. You can use these same aromas as well as other fragrances to bring you joy and boost your mood.

Fragrances like cinnamon, vanilla, lavender, jasmine and sandalwood are excellent mood boosters and you can find them in essential oils as well as candles. Other feel-good scents include peppermint, citrus, coffee, rosemary, roses, irises and geraniums. You might also like simple things that remind you of years past such as baby lotion, old leather, fresh cut wood, grandma’s perfume or even the scent of a farm. These things you might have to look a little harder for, but the wonderful memories they hold are well worth the trouble.

7. Snuggle with Fido. There really isn’t anything better to help brighten your mood than the love of a pet. In fact, scientists have proven that petting and being close to pets can greatly improve your mood. They love and accept unconditionally, what could be better than that?

These are but a few all-natural things you can do to improve your mood this fall. Now perk up, get outside and enjoy those beautiful fall colors!

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Basics of Homeopathic Healing

Homeopathy has been used for more than 200 years to treat everything from colds and viruses to significant conditions like cancer and post traumatic stress disorder.  It’s based on the theory that the body is the best source of healing for itself.  Let’s take a look at the theory behind Homeopathic healing and how it’s used. 

The Three Principles of Homeopathic Healing

Homeopathy is based on thee main principles.  They include:

English: Image: homeopathic substance Deutsch:...
Homeopathic substances (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* Like Cures Like
This principle is often seen in the treatment of allergies.  For example if a person is allergic to grass pollen then they will regularly receive injections with a small amount of grass pollen in the solution.  The theory being that they will slowly build up a tolerance for the allergen until they have little or no reaction.  The same holds true for many of our vaccines.  If you’re getting a flu vaccine, you’re receiving a small amount of the flu virus.  Your body recognizes it and defeats it thus, when that particular strain of the flu comes around you won’t get it because your body knows how to combat it.

* Minimal Dose
Homeopathic healing takes the approach of extreme dilution, theorizing that your body doesn’t need to be inundated with an element to adapt and respond.  How diluted are the dosages?  We’re talking about 1 part homeopathic element or remedy and  1,000,000,000,000 parts water (or other inert filler substance).

* The Single Remedy
Have you ever had a cold but didn’t have the cold medication to cover all your symptoms so you took a decongestant, a fever reducer and cough medicine combined to try to make it through the day?  This is the opposite of how homeopathy approaches healing.  Because you’re dealing with having the body heal itself, homeopathy believes that only one remedy is taken - usually it’s the presumed cause of the illness that is the remedy.

Who Can Use Homeopathy?

Homeopathic healing is deemed safe for everyone. This includes pregnant women, children and even babies and the elderly.  Treatment is easy and typically involves, once a diagnosis has been made, taking a powder or small tablet orally.  The tablets are designed to dissolve in your mouth and may need to be held under the tongue for a few seconds until completely dissolved.  While some treatments may require only one tablet taken daily, others may require several tablets each day.  The treatment depends on the diagnosis and the practitioner.

Various homeopathic remedies
Various homeopathic remedies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Why Use Homeopathic Healing?

Believe it or not, homeopathy  is the second most widely used form of healing in the world. And its popularity in western civilization continues to grow - it is even approved by the FDA, which is an extremely tough thing for a natural remedy to achieve as you may know.  By and large, this success is due to the fact that homeopathy is extremely effective, when properly diagnosed.  It’s also extremely safe and results in virtually no side effects and it can be taken with other medication without the fear of interaction.

Homeopathic remedies are also natural. You’re not putting potentially harmful chemicals into your body. In addition, as more and more people adopt a more holistic approach to healing, it’s much more natural and effective to treat the cause of a problem rather than the symptoms.  Homeopathy treats the cause.

When it comes to healing, homeopathic healing has a long and successful history and a bright future.  To find a skilled homeopathic doctor you can visit one of the many online directories or associations or you can speak to your medical practitioner for a recommendation.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Potential Risks and Dangers of Detoxing

If you’ve been considering a detox diet or a detox plan you may have come across some alarming information. Many experts consider detoxing to be extremely dangerous. Detoxing does offer some powerful health benefits. However, it’s not a strategy to take lightly. Detoxing isn’t for everyone and it’s important to know the potential risks and dangers before you start. And above all, be sure you are following a safe and natural detox plan that works with your body to help it detoxify and heal - stay away from extreme diets and weird detoxification supplements if you're not sure what's in them or what they do.

Always choose a safe, gentle cleanse that works with your body, not against it.
Existing Health Conditions

If you have an existing health condition, detoxing may not be right for you. For example, if you’re pregnant, do not detox. If you have diabetes, an immune deficiency, or compromised organs then detoxing should be approached with extreme caution and the guidance of an educated health professional.

If you have kidney disease, liver problems or heart disease, do not detox. If you’re unsure if a detox plan is right for you ask your doctor. It’s always a good idea to get a doctor’s approval before you take any significant steps in this arena.

Detoxing for Weight Loss

Many detox plans are designed specifically for weight loss. They work by essentially starving the body of calories over a period of days. Some even add laxative measures so you’re purging your body of existing material. This can cause dehydration, digestive problems, headaches, dizziness, and extreme fatigue. Yes, you’ll lose weight because you’re not consuming many, if any, calories. However, as soon as you begin eating normally you’ll often gain most if not all of the weight back.

If you’re going to detox for weight loss, choose a safe, healthy long term plan. For example, drink organic juices for breakfast and lunch and eat a solid meal for dinner. Choose organic foods without pesticides and eat a healthy and well balanced meal. You’ll lose weight naturally and gradually while you also detoxify your body. (For an example of this type of plan, see the Total Wellness Cleanse.)

 (Photo credit: sillydog)
Serious Side Effects

Some detox diets come with a handful of unpleasant side effects. They include dizziness, diarrhea, headaches, mood swings and insomnia. These side effects are generally caused by withdrawal.

For example, if you normally consume sugar or sugary substitutes and you suddenly stop, your body is going to miss them. Caffeine, white flour and other food elements can cause similar effects. (This is called a food addiction, and it's so common almost everyone has at least one.)

The good news is that these side effects generally go away a few days into the detox diet, as you break your unhealthy addictions. Most people then feel energetic, clear headed and extremely healthy. However, it is also important to pay close attention to your body. If the side effects are severe or are making your day to day activities difficult then modify the detox diet and approach it more gradually.

It is important to take care when detoxifying. It can be a great first step to improved health. However, it’s not a strategy to take lightly. Follow a proven and trusted detox plan that is gentle and works naturally to detoxify and heal your bodily systems. Pay careful attention to your health and listen to your body!

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Leaky Gut Syndrome Explained

This week we've got a guest article by one of our favorite health and fitness experts. Yuri is all about natural health, smart fitness, and reducing your toxic load via whole, natural foods that help your body heal and detox naturally. If you've never heard of leaky gut syndrome, or you don't know what it is, you should definitely read this article. This syndrome can promote allergies and food intolerances, increase toxic load, create inflammation within the body, and put a burden on all your bodily systems - leading to many different diseases and ill health consequences.

Read on to find out more about leaky gut syndrome, and how you can avoid this dangerous condition.

Leaky Gut Syndrome Explained

Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN & Amy Coates, RHN, BSc.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

English: The gastrointestinal tract, also call...
The gastrointestinal tract, also called the digestive tract, alimentary canal, or gut, is the system of organs within multicellular animals that takes in food, digests it to extract energy and nutrients, and expels the remaining waste. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Leaky gut syndrome is the technical name for increased intestinal permeability. As its name signifies, this condition is characterizes by a gut (intestinal tract) that allows far too many substances into the bloodstream.

Normally, the intestinal walls form a semi-permeable barrier, only allowing properly digesting nutrients into the bloodstream, while preventing the uptake of toxins and undigested food particles. Such nutrients are able to pass into the blood through pores located in the intestinal wall.

Under ideal circumstances, these pores are small enough to prevent undigested food particles and other large toxins from escaping the intestinal tract and causing damage in the bloodstream.

However, in the case of leaky gut syndrome, these pores widen, which allows anything and everything to pass through the (now very permeable) intestinal walls and into the blood.

This is a big problem and is one of the biggest factors behind food allergies and auto-immune diseases.

Why is Having a Leaky Gut Dangerous?

Our intestinal tract is obviously semi-permeable for a reason. If is meant to keep out certain substances then there's a reason for needing to do so.

One of the problems with leaky gut is that it allows undigested food particles into the blood. When this happens, the immune system builds up antibodies against the protein in that food and mounts a full-out immune response. The immune system is simply doing its job. If it identifies a "foreign" substance in the bloodstream, then it will take the necessary action to neutralize it.

Unfortunately, since the body has now developed an antibody army against this food, with time as you ingest this food your body will become "hypersensitive" to it. This is how food allergies develop. And the more this occurs with the foods you eat, the more hypersensitive your immune system becomes.

As a result, you become much more susceptible to environmental allergens since your body's immune system is now in overdrive and "paranoid" about everything little thing it is exposed to.

The time-course of an immune response begins w...
The time-course of an immune response begins with the initial pathogen encounter, and leads to the formation and maintenance of active immunological memory. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With time, a hypersensitive immune system can start reacting in a myriad of unpredictable ways. In many cases, it will actually begin to attack the body itself, creating an auto-immune disease such as alopecia, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, Graves' disease, endometriosis, and many more.

A substantial proportion of the population suffers from immune diseases, which are often chronic, debilitating, and life-threatening. There are more than eighty illnesses caused by autoimmunity and about 75 percent of those affected are women. It has been estimated that autoimmune diseases are among the ten leading causes of death among women in all age groups up to 65 years.

However, go to your doctor, allergist, or immunologist and they will NEVER even mention the possibility of leaky gut syndrome.

According to "brilliant experts" at USA Today...

"Scientists believe multiple factors such as environmental toxins, heredity, viruses, and certain drugs may play a role in causing an autoimmune disease. Stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, abuse of alcohol and use of tobacco can also weaken the immune system and may play some role as well."

That's great thanks. And they can say that about pretty much every single disease as well. The fact remains that many of these "causes" are also at the root of leaky gut syndrome.

What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Well, as was briefly mentioned above, the substances and choices that stress your body and digestive system will have a profound effect on the health of your colon and intestinal tract. Refined sugars, processed foods, alcohol, medications, and stress will negatively impact the colon.

All of these can worsen the balance between good and bad flora in your colon. If the bad are way out of control, then fungi, for instance, can latch onto the intestinal walls and create irritation, inflammation, and eventually widening of the pores.

If food sits in your colon for too long, it too will irritate the intestinal walls and predispose them to becoming more permeable. That is one of the reasons why passing regular bowel movements is so important.

Natural Leaky Gut Remedies

First, you need to cleanse your body of the foods and substances that irritate your digestive and intestinal tract. Second, you need to spend time healing your gut with nutrients such as L-glutamine, essential fatty acids, and vitamin C. Then you need to provide your intestinal tract with a balance of healthy bacteria through probiotics and enzymes, so that it can protect itself against future invaders and irritation.

So if you suffer from allergies, have an autoimmune disorder, have digestive difficulties, or want to improve your overall health then you need to take action immediately. The longer you wait, the worse your condition will get.

The first step is a full-scale natural cleanse which will reduce the toxins and inflammation in your digestive system. The Total Wellness Cleanse™ is a gentle and natural detoxification process that will help heal your gut and cleanse your body of its toxins. To learn more about how the Total Wellness Cleanse can help you just click the link below.

About the Author:
Yuri Elkaim is a renowned fitness, nutrition, and weight loss expert. He is a registered holistic nutritionist and the co-creator of the Total Wellness Cleanse - a 30-day food-based cleansing program that has helped thousands of people lose weight, cleanse their bodies of toxic overload, and restore incredible health. For information on the Total Wellness Cleanse visit

Noel R. Rose and Ian R. MacKay, “The Autoimmune Diseases” fourth edition

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