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Rice, Arsenic, and Green Tea: What’s the Toxin Connection?

Chili con carne on rice, white backgroundRecently, I heard of a story where a couple came into the Emergency Room with the wife  complaining of excessive neurological symptoms such as headaches, numbness, muscle weakness and more.  Upon further evaluation, it was concluded that she had been poisoned with Arsenic.  Almost immediately the husband became the suspect and was actually arrested.  Fortunately the wife insisted he was innocent and demanded that he also be tested for Arsenic.   The Verdict:  NOT GUILTY. His blood samples also showed presence of arsenic.  But, why did he not have symptoms?  Simply  put, he has a more sophisticated detoxification system that has been naturally riding his body’s exposure.  His wife was not as fortunate.  The point here is that we are all wired differently.

This motivated me to dig deeper.  Where are we being exposed to Arsenic?  Turns out a big source is one of Acadiana’s favorite foods:  Rice

Unfortunately, according to Consumer Reports, Louisiana rice is among the highest in arsenic content.

What is Arsenic and How Does it get into our Rice?

Arsenic is a toxicant that’s found naturally in soil and water.  It is a carcinogen, of course, and in high levels, it can be fatal.  In lower levels, it can create symptoms similar to what the wife above experienced:  nausea, vomiting, abnormal heart rhythms, pins and needle sensations in hands and feet.

Arsenic is water soluble, making rice particularly vulnerable to contamination. Because of Louisiana’s history of producing cotton, a crop that was heavily treated with arsenical pesticides for decades, the same soil now used for rice still contains residues of Arsenic today.

So, Should I No Longer Eat Rice?

Of course not!

Then what should I do?

Make daily intentional choices that provide your body with the essential elements it needs to overcome these unavoidable exposures.

Here are a few simple things you can begin doing today:

1.  Drink Green Tea!  Yes, my favorite is back to protect us yet again!  In a study which measured the protective effect of not only green, but also black tea, it was found that both Green and Black Tea are no match for Arsenic!  So, enjoy your rice with a glass of Green Tea.

2. Eat Apples, but not just any apple-ORGANIC APPLES!  Apple peelings are rich in Polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that work together to enhance your health such as REMOVING ARSENIC from your body naturally.  But, these apples must be organic and you must eat the peeling to see this effect.

3. Drink and cook with Filtered Water.  Remember, Arsenic loves water, so it’s not just a rice problem.

 

Once again, the bottom line is we can’t live completely toxin free, but we can defend ourselves.

Choose healthier options daily and your body will take care of the rest.

Cheers to better health and wellness,

Liz

 

 

 

 

Resources:
http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2014/FO/c3fo60470e#!divAbstract
 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=14507244

 

 

 

Is Water Making You Fat?

 

Is Water Making You Fat?

Is my water making me fat?

 

MAYBE.  What!   How could something with ZERO CALORIES make me fat?

The answer is Obesogens.

What’s an obesogen?

Obesogens are chemicals that are commonly found in our environment that have the ability to alter fat metabolism and promote fat retention.

 

To put it in simpler terms they are OBESITY PROMOTERS! 

How?

  1. They mimic what your hormones do by literally hijacking hormonal pathways and sending messages to store fat and disrupt your hunger and appetite signals.
  2. Hence, they have potential to increase your fat cells and lower your metabolic rate(metabolism)

What does this have to do with water?

Well, that depends.

Are you drinking water from the tap? 

Are you drinking water, even filtered water, in a plastic bottle?

If you answered yes to one or both of these questions, then you are also possibly consuming high amounts of the obesogens, Atrazine and BPA.

Atrazine is a widely used herbicide that finds its way into our drinking water as a runoff from herbicides used especially on row crops. While our local water supply regulates Atrazine levels, there are still trace amounts in our drinking water.

BPA  (Bisphenol A) is one of many man-made chemicals classified as endocrine disruptors. It’s commonly found in plastic bottles such as in plastic water bottles used daily by most.

BPA is sensitive to heat.  So drinking hot beverages such as tea or coffee in a plastic cup could promote its release.  In addition, drinking water stored in vehicles in plastic bottles have a higher likelihood of BPA release as well as repeated dishwashing of plastic drinking cups and even baby bottles.

Well, gee, you must be thinking how am I going to drink 8 glasses of water now?

The answer is not to stop drinking water.  Water drinking is still a highly recommended weight management tip and a healthy habit for everyone.

Instead, let’s tweak how you drink water.

Remember, Acadiana’s Green Moms are all about helping you control what you can control, and the good news is that you can control your exposure to both Atrazine and BPA

Here are a few tips:

  1. Minimize your Atrazine exposure by investing in a home water filtration unit.
  2. Minimize your BPA exposure by drinking from BPA free plastics only.
  3. Drink from glass cups.  My favorite drinking vessel is a one pint Mason jar. I love that I can cap it and leave it on my desk without fear of spills. I also love that it’s a measured 2 cups helping me keep track of my water intake more accurately.
  4. Drink from stainless steel water bottles.
  5. Ask your employer to invest in BPA free water cooler bottles.
  6. Convert your home to plastic free dinnerware and storage containers.

These tips should get you started in the right direction.  They are simple and easy to apply right away.

Looking forward to sharing more on Obesogens in future posts (Yes, there are more!).

Meanwhile, if you have specific questions, let us know.

Cheers to cleaner water and healthier choices.

Liz

 

 

Infertility: A Message of Hope

Infertility and Environmental Toxins:  A Message of Hope

Sullen woman holding negative result pregnancy test

 Having taught Natural Family Planning with my husband since 1992, I do not need a statistician to tell me  that infertility is on the rise.  When your phone rings more frequently with requests for help from  couples that are struggling to conceive, the message is rather loud and clear.

 But for those who like statistics, according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

“About 6% of married women 15–44 years of age in the United States are unable to get pregnant after one  year of unprotected sex (infertility).

Also, about 11% of women 15–44 years of age in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or  carrying a pregnancy to term, regardless of marital status (impaired fecundity).”

And it’s not always the woman’s problem. According to the CDC, “Of men who sought help, 18% were  diagnosed with a male-related infertility problem, including sperm or semen problems (14%) and  varicocele (6%).”

So, what’s going on?  While there are numerous contributing factors, my role here on this blog is to present the role of environmental toxins.  With the growing awareness of ingredients in simple household/personal care products being labeled as hormone disrupters, it causes one to wonder if what we are experiencing holds true.

But, I don’t want to ramble here on what you can find easily on other websites.  Instead, I want to offer hope to the young couple who may have stumbled upon my website.

As the leader of Acadiana’s Green Moms, I have been helping families create safer homes for over twelve years.  My biggest reward has always been what my services can do to improve your health and it’s what motivates me to keep offering this service.

One compelling story and how it relates to infertility is worth sharing.

Having been referred to a young couple interested in creating a safer home, I had no reason to suspect that this couple has been dealing with infertility.  They had two children, so they did not look infertile to me.

In my normal home assessment, I covered the rising rate of infertility and its connection to environmental toxins, causally suggesting that if they had friends dealing with infertility perhaps we could help them.

Several months go by and I meet the couple randomly in the community. The wife shared with me her excitement of just learning she is pregnant.  Of course, congratulatory exchanges were made, but then she shared with me how she suffered two miscarriages since the birth of her last child.

She went on to share that after I left her home that evening she realized that having had two children so close together, in her concern for their well-being, she amped up her cleaning and disinfecting.  My comments caused her to wonder if her once normal fertility had been impacted by her over exposure to household toxins.

In a matter of three months, she completely converted her entire house from cleaning to personal care to even safer skin care and cosmetics.  Fast forward nine months and she has a third healthy child and, at the time of this writing, is expecting her fourth.

Now I am not saying that her story will be yours, but what will it cost you to convert your home? Absolutely nothing but better health.

Acadiana’s Green Moms offer free home and health assessments.  Email Liz@AcadianasGreenMoms.com for details.

Cheers to health and wellness,

Liz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eczema

Eczema:  Remove the Triggers

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 Having 3 of my own family members with eczema, I can certainly relate to the health  challenges that it presents.

As a mom who was determined to find the root causes and triggers of eczema, I was able to  make significant changes in my family’s environment and diet which has resulted in our two  sons no longer dealing with it.  My husband, on the other hand, though still struggles with it.    I firmly believe that eczema is a gateway to other issues.  In fact, I recently read that 50 to  70% of children with eczema develop asthma and this is definitely my husband’s story.  I  believe our two sons were spared the asthma diagnosis because, unlike their father, their eczema was successfully controlled as toddlers.

How can you control the symptoms of eczema?

You must remove the triggers.

What are possible triggers?

Laundry Detergent:  You and your laundry detergent spend the entire day together. Change to a brand of laundry detergent that is manufactured by a manufacturer that has committed to using safer ingredients.  Avoid mainstream free and clear detergents as while they may help improve the skin many have hidden carcinogenic ingredients.  You also want to use the same laundry detergent for the entire family because your detergent can become a trigger when your child comes in contact with your clothes while carrying them.

Soaps and Body Washes:  Consider shopping only from brands that guarantee safer ingredients.  Many mainstream brands use cheap preservatives such as Quaternium-15 which is a formaldehyde releaser, a known skin irritant and carcinogen.  What this means is that your “gentle” baby body wash may actually contain a cheap ingredient that is actually irritating your child’s skin.

Cleaning Products:  Many do not consider the impact of cleaning products. Most cleaning products contain harsh chemicals such as bleach and ammonia. If you are scrubbing your tub with harsh chemicals, these chemicals leave a residue in the tub and every time you bathe your child, his skin is being exposed to skin irritants.  In addition, every time you spray your countertops with harsh cleaners, when your child comes in contact with this surface, he is being exposed to skin irritants.  Change to greener brands or make your own.  See Natural Cleaning Tips for suggestions.

Diet:  A real food diet plan is recommended for everyone, but especially for those with symptoms of eczema.  Adjusting the diet to eliminate processed foods and possibly going gluten-free may be a necessary step.  Working with a dietitian  such as My Food Coach, Daphne Olivier, on an elimination diet is highly recommended.  Supplements such as Omega 3 Fish Oils, Probiotics, and Grape Seed Extracts have also been shown to improve the health of the skin.

The Bottom Line:

The bottom line is that rather than seeking what I personally call “Band Aids” in the form of steroid creams and lotions, seek out the source and begin taking small steps towards removing these triggers.

For information on brands of cleaning, laundry, and personal care products that Acadiana’s Green Moms trust, email Liz@AcadianasGreenMoms.com

Cheers to Health and Wellness,

Liz

 

Liz Champagne

Registered Dietitian

AcadianasGreenMoms.com

337-277-1069

Liz@AcadianasGreenMoms.com

 

 

 

 

 

Toxins and Gluten Sensitivities

Can Toxins Impact Gluten Sensitivities?

 

Gluten free diet concept   This week, I am attending an online Gluten Summit and I am totally overwhelmed by how        much information and research has been done on this compelling topic since I became a  registered dietitian in the 80’s.  I remember during my senior year of college our professor making  us highlight about four lines in our nutrition book regarding Celiac disease because this is one  of those obscure questions our registration exam may ask.  Fast forward twenty plus years  and the literature and research on these simple four lines has literally exploded!

While I am still learning about this important topic myself, one thing that caught my attention  this week as I am listening to all these doctors, researchers, and dietitians share their wealth of knowledge is that we can not discount the role of toxins in the development of gluten sensitivities.

When asked about this possible role, Dr. Michael Marsh, a leading gluten researcher, agreed that when one is prone to develop a gluten insensitivity, which unfortunately one does not usually know that, the exposure to toxins from the environment and from food may overtime be a catalyst towards the ultimate development of gluten sensitivities.

For those who are gluten sensitive, you should check out this website:  Gluten Intolerance Group .  There you will find a host of information to guide you.

Pull up their One Step At A Time educational print out and you will see that on step four there is reference to the value of ultimately converting to gluten free personal care products, medications, and more.

While gluten, as a protein, is too big to absorb through the skin, any open cut or wound does give gluten an entry point. If you have a small child who sucks their thumb or uses a pacifier that has been cleaned with a gluten-based cleaning product, there is always that possible ingestion from that point as well.

Ultimately, the recommendation to Live As Toxin Free as you can holds true for everyone and from what I can gather, gluten sensitivities are not diagnosed early enough and long term damage is usually underway by the time it is diagnosed.  Reducing the amount of toxins your body is exposed to may delay the onset of more serious health outcomes.

Can We Live Completely Toxin Free?

No, but we can choose to control what we can control.

We can control our food and household product purchases.

How can Acadiana’s Green Moms help you?

We are your local resource for all things green.

Contact us and we can help you begin your journey towards living a cleaner, greener lifestyle, one step at a time.

Cheers to health and wellness,

Liz

 

337-277-1069

Liz@AcadianasGreenMoms.com

Can We Live Completely Toxin Free?

Can We Live Completely Toxin Free?

 

iStock_000025411832Small    As Acadiana’s Green Mom, I am often asked, “Is it possible to live completely toxin     free?”  The honest answer is “No”.

   Because we live in a TOXIC environment, we can only strive to reduce the number      of toxins we expose our ourselves to by controlling what we have the power to            control.

  We can’t control the outside air that we breathe. There will always be exhaust from     cars and there will always be pesticides sprayed over the crops we live near by.

  We can’t control the environment of places we visit.  Despite our efforts to choose      greener alternatives, friends, relatives, schools, and work places will more than  likely still be using products that are not so green.

 

So, What Can We Control?

  •  We can control the products we purchase for cleaning and doing laundry.
  •  We can control the products we purchase for bathing and personal care.
  •  We can control the food that we choose to eat.
  •  We can control the water that we chose to drink.

 

Set Your Body’s Detox Systems Up for Success

Your body is designed to handle a normal load of toxins.  We have numerous natural detoxification body systems that are set up perfectly to handle this all on its own.

The problem is that we are overexposed, and the body is unable to do its job.

Thus, we see the impact in the form of short-term health concerns such as asthma and even eczema to long-term health concerns such as cancer and many neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

So, if you control what you can control, you are setting up your body’s natural detoxification systems for success.

Stay Tuned For Future Posts

The first step to change is becoming more informed.

Our goal with Acadiana’s Green Moms is to help you as you begin your own journey towards living a greener lifestyle.

In future posts, I will elaborate more on the areas of your home that you can control. But, if you can’t wait, contact us at Liz@AcadianasGreenMoms.com

 

Cheers to health and wellness,

Liz

 

Natural Cleaning Tip: Soap Scum

 Natural Cleaning Tip:  Soap Scum

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To remove soap scum from shower form a paste with vinegar and salt.  Add paste to cleaning brush and scrub your tub and tile surfaces clean.

Don’t worry about vinegar smell as it will dissipate over time and you will not notice it.

Cleaning with natural ingredients simply requires more patience on the part of the housekeeper.  Natural will work, but you will have to either wait a little longer to see the results or scrub a little harder.  Good News is that your efforts yield a greener, cleaner home.

Natural Cleaning Tip: Mold and Mildew

 Natural Cleaning Tip: Mold and Mildew

iStock_000027630122XSmallCleaning with natural ingredients simply requires more patience on the part of the housekeeper.  Natural will work, but you will have to either wait a little longer to see the results or scrub a little harder.

To clean mold or mildew try one of these two tips:

1. Mix 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of Tea Tree Oil  in mixing bottle.  Spray on mold/mildew and let sit for several hours.  Wipe surface clean.

2. Simply spray surface with inexpensive Hydrogen Peroxide.