Primary Suspects

Wanted-Poster-Health-Crimes.jpgThis is part two of a three-part article.

These primary suspects are diet and lifestyle habits that may be robbing you of good health.

Primary Suspect #1: “Shifty” Environmental Toxins

I call this suspect “shifty” because he can be a hard one to catch. Without doing some serious detective work, it is sometimes difficult to recognize that he’s invaded the body and damaged your health. He can also be a difficult suspect to arrest because he shows up in so many places in your life. To see if this suspect might be a cause of your ill health, take the following inventory.

  • Do you now or have you ever had a job where you worked around chemicals of any kind (painters, dry cleaners, carpet cleaners, beauticians, farmers, etc.)?
  • Do you or have you ever lived near an environment like a factory or a farm?
  • Do you have silver amalgam fillings in your teeth?
  • Do you eat processed foods containing food additives, preservatives, etc.?
  • Do you use pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc. in your home or workplace?
  • Do you use commercial household cleaning products (detergents, drain openers, bathroom cleaners) that are labeled toxic or dangerous (read the labels)?
  • Do you use commercial personal care products (shampoos, dyes, cosmetics, deodorants, etc.) that contain large numbers of chemicals (read the labels carefully)?

If you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, Shifty Environmental Toxins may have entered your life and is silently, but surely, destroying your health. Arresting Shifty is a two-fold process. First, you need to minimize your exposure to his attacks by getting as many chemicals out of your life as possible. Read labels carefully and use natural products containing ingredients you can recognize as natural and non-toxic. Avoid products with labels that indicate the product is poisonous. If a product looks like a chemical soup, it probably is—avoid it.

Since you won’t be able to completely avoid this suspect in modern society, you'll have to help your body get rid of him on a regular basis. The best way to do this is to take a fiber supplement every day. Fiber helps bind this character and carry him out of your system.

It also helps to do a cleanse at least once or twice a year. Different kinds of cleanses or cleansing products may be required depending on the type of toxins you are dealing with. I find a cleanse is most effective when done while fasting, juice fasting or at the very least, consuming a mild food diet. My favorite general cleansing products are: All Cell Detox, Enviro-Detox and Heavy Metal Detox. I also really like the Tiao He Cleanse. Taken with fiber, all of these products will help get Shifty out of your life.

For more specific information on cleansing, consult my book, Coming Clean. It contains specific information about various cleansing programs you can use. You can also watch the free webinar, Facts and Myths About Detoxification.

Primary Suspect #2: “Sneaky” White Carbs

sneaking-cupcake-web.jpegWhite Carbs refers to refined carbohydrates like refined sugars, white bread, and other products made with white flour and polished white rice. White carbs are Sneaky because they sneak into our diet under the guise of being tasty and appealing. Once Sneaky is in our life, he begins his health-destroying work.

Carbohydrates are the body’s fuel, but in order to be able to utilize carbohydrates, the body has to have other nutrients, including minerals like chromium, manganese and magnesium and B-complex vitamins. These nutrients are present in whole natural foods, but have been stripped from refined carbohydrates. So, eating them depletes the body’s stores of nutrients.

But this is just the beginning.

Refined carbohydrates also spike blood sugar levels. These spikes adversely affect brain function and mood and cause the body to secrete excess insulin. High insulin levels lead to increased inflammation, obesity, increased risk of heart disease, hypoglycemia and eventually diabetes. So, keeping Sneaky White Carbs out of your diet is one of the best ways to prevent the crime of chronic and degenerative disease in your life.

Unfortunately, getting them out of your diet is easier said than done because sugar and refined flour “sneak” their way into countless foods. You have to read labels carefully. You also have to break your addiction to them, because they are like a drug and you go through withdrawal when you try to eliminate them. Breaking the physical addiction takes about two weeks; breaking the psychological addiction can take months or years. For tips on breaking addictions to sugar, see the article Breaking the Addiction to Sugar. You will also find recipes for goodies like cookies made with unrefined sugars and whole grains. These can help you break free of Sneaky without feeling like you’re being deprived.

Primary Suspect #3: “Bully” Altered Fats

man-fast-food-temptation-web.jpegWe are continually bombarded with the message that fats are bad, but fats—like carbohydrates—are vital to good health. The problem is that most of the fats in the American diet have been altered through a refining process. This turns them into a Bully that stirs up trouble in the body.

Like complex carbohydrates, natural fats and oils contain minerals, fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients that help the body process and metabolize the fat. Natural fats and oils also have important essential and non-essential fatty acids that control inflammation, promote brain health, and aid immunity.

Bully works his way into the body and stirs up trouble. Instead of being anti-inflammatory, he is pro-inflammatory and aggravates conditions like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorders, skin irritations, and aches and pains. He hardens cell membranes and contributes to the development of type II diabetes and heart disease. He’s also bad for the brain so you can’t think straight and start losing your memory.

Bully makes his way into our lives because fats taste good and he’s so readily available. But, if you want good health, don’t let Bully push you around. Get rid of him by eliminating margarine, shortening, processed vegetable oils (especially partially hydrogenated vegetable oils), deep-fried foods, and fats from commercially raised animals.

Get some allies on your side by eating good fats. These good fats are found in wild fish and game, grass-fed animals, flax and hemp seeds, nuts like walnuts and macadamias, avocados, butter and cream from grass-fed cows, and natural oils like olive oil and coconut oil. You may also want to take an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement. For more information on fats see the article Fat Facts.

Primary Suspect #4: “Subversive” Chronic Stress

stress.jpgStress has a detrimental impact on our health. It is definitely a subversive influence. Patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia are usually in the middle-to-upper earning brackets and are ambitious, hardworking perfectionists. This suggests that stress plays a big role in their health problems. The body is designed to be able to handle a certain amount of stress, but when you combine stress with nutritional deficiencies from a diet of refined and processed foods, the body becomes depleted more quickly.

Stress depletes the body of nutrients like B-vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium. Subversive Chronic Stress works hand in hand with his accomplice and side-kick, Low Down Adrenal Burnout (which we’ll talk about later) to create fatigue, reduced resistance to disease, and chronic inflammation (i.e., chronic health problems).

Subversive also robs you of sleep. Sleep is important because the body heals and repairs itself when we are sleeping. So, chronic sleep deprivation leads to health breakdown. We need about 8-9 hours of sleep each night, but most Americans only get 6-7. They rely on caffeinated beverages and sugar to try to keep themselves going, when what they really need is more sleep. To combat Subversive, start by replacing nutrients depleted by stress.

A B-Complex and Vitamin C supplement with calming herbs like Nutri-Calm is great for this. Magnesium is also helpful and is the number one mineral deficiency in America. You can also reduce stress levels by using adaptogenic herbs and formulas like eleuthero root, rhodiola or any good adaptagenic formula. These adaptogens help keep Subversive Chronic Stress from undermining your health.

However, while supplements can be helpful, the most important thing you can do to counteract the subversive influence of chronic stress is to make time for pleasure and recreation in your life. Creating pleasurable experiences does more to promote health than stress does to undermine it. So, make a list of pleasurable activities such as getting a massage, taking a warm bath, listening to music, walking in nature, etc. and make time to do these things on a regular basis.

For more ideas on dealing with stress, check out the articles, Physical and Psychological Approaches to Stress and Seven Stress Solving Secrets.

Primary Suspect #5: Drugs the “Corrupter”

magic-pills-web.jpegMost people understand the danger of “street” drugs and drug dealers, but what I’m talking about here are the many legal over-the-counter and prescription drugs. These substances often corrupt our health in the name of “protecting” it, as evidenced by the fact that Americans use more prescription drugs than any other nation and yet we have some of the worst national health statistics of any civilized nation.

Because most people don’t associate the way they eat and live with their health problems, they try to solve their stress and health problems with these highly advertised and promoted substances. These medications supply temporary symptomatic relief, but they don’t resolve the underlying causes of people’s health problems. This gives a person the illusion that they are taking care of their health, when in reality, they’re just taking care of their disease.

Furthermore, since most drugs are inorganic, toxic substances, the body has to treat them like environmental toxins and dispose of them. This requires extra nutrients and leads to a further depletion and toxification of the system. Wherever possible, it’s best to deal with health problems using natural remedies, which actually promote health rather than just treat symptoms.

Once you accept the “Corrupter” into your life he’s hard to get rid of, so I try to avoid him at all costs. If you do need a drug to stabilize a medical condition, you should still work on the other underlying causes of the disease and not rely on the drug. You should also see if you can lower the dose of your medication or perhaps even eliminate it by using appropriate herbs and supplements that accomplish the same tasks.

In some cases, a drug is absolutely necessary, but you can also take steps to minimize any harm it might cause by learning to use herbs or supplements that counteract its harmful effects. The key thing to realize here is that drugs will never promote good health. All they can do is stabilize a situation to keep it from deteriorating further.

While we’re on the subject, many people “self-medicate” to relieve the stress and fatigue in their lives with a variety of drug-like substances. As previously discussed, one of them is refined sugar. Others include caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. While an occasional glass of wine or a cup of coffee won’t hurt anyone, when these addictive substances are used daily, they undermine good health. When you’re taking good care of your health, you don’t need these substances to feel good.

This article continues on page three discussing the five secondary accomplices. Click on the link below to continue to the next page.