Are you feeling a little sluggish, even though spring is finally here?
The truth is, we face toxins daily—out in the world and at home—from chemical flame retardants in our couches and carpets to toxic chemicals in consumer products, and from BPA in our food cans to toxic skincare products, and, of course a number of daily assaults on fresh air and clean water.
Drink two liters of water each day. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
How can you tell if you are experiencing toxic overload? If other underlying conditions have been ruled out, then here are a few symptoms you might be experiencing: constipation, bad breath, an extra sensitivity to smells and a difficulty in shedding pounds. Other clues include muscle or joint pain, sluggishness, difficulty concentrating, headaches and mood swings.
Rodale offers a quiz, adapted from The Detox Prescription by Woodson Merrell, MD, to see if a major detox is in order.
Some swear by detox methods—whether it’s called a cleanse, a fast or a diet. But do detox diets truly offer any health benefits? According to the experts at Mayo Clinic, detoxification diets are popular—and some individuals report feeling more energetic and focused—but they're not scientifically proven. The body can be quite capable on its own of cleansing toxins through the kidneys and liver. Also, one can experience side effects from a detox diet, from fatigue to dehydration. And, of course, get approval from your physician before beginning any detox program, or taking any herbs or dietary supplements.
There are fads and there are tricks, like any special diets, but if you are serious about lightening the toxic load on your body, here are some ideas for you to consider.
First, when is the best time to detox?
Basically all seasons but winter, when our bodies are tired and cold. Here is why spring is a good time to detox:
- Spring brings regeneration; it is a good time to refresh our systems.
- Waste builds up during the winter, so we need to clean out our bodies.
- According to Chinese thought, spring is the time to cleanse and nourish the liver.
- The transition from winter into spring is a great time to work towards losing weight and cleanse accumulated toxins from the body.
So how do you know which detox program is right for you?
Every Diet lists dozens of detox diets, raw food cleanses and juice fasts to consider. A basic detox diet is recommended to include organic food and drink; high mix of vegetables and fruit; two liters of water each day; and whole unprocessed foods like grains, nuts and seeds. A detox diet should eliminate alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and drugs; processed and refined foods; added sugars; and certain supplements due to additives.
AARP offers the following tips for a gentle detox diet, which should be followed for at least two weeks, gradually adding back your regular foods in moderation:
1. Drink at least eight to 10 glasses of filtered water every day. The kidneys rid waste products from our bodies and water plays a key supporting role.
2. Eliminate white flour and white sugar.
3. Eat six or eight little meals every day of whole unprocessed foods that include vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains.
4. Each of those meals should include a serving of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts. Garlic, onions and cilantro all contain properties that aid detoxification.
5. Eat real fruit, rather than drinking fruit juice, which is often high in sugar.
6. Unless you are a vegetarian, include small portions of lean animal proteins and fish. If possible, organic and pasture-raised meats and dairy products are recommended to avoid ingesting additional hormones or antibiotics.
7. Avoid stimulants, such as caffeine.
8. No drugs or alcohol.
9. If you suspect you might have food sensitivities, try eliminating wheat/gluten, eggs, dairy, yeast, soy and corn products, and see if you feel noticeably better after a few weeks.
10. Take a daily multivitamin.
Gaiam offers a Detox 101, with their five favorite detox diets—from a simple fruit and veggie detox to a juice cleanse—or, something for everyone.
Gaiam also offers the following 10 diet, supplements and lifestyle practices to cleanse your body daily, even after a detox diet has been completed:
1. Eat plenty of fiber, including brown rice and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods.
2. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
3. Take vitamin C, which helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
4. Drink at least two quarts of water a day.
5. Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.
6. Transform stress by emphasizing positive emotions.
7. Practice hydrotherapy by taking a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on your back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Do this three times, and then get into bed for 30 minutes.
8. Sweat in a sauna so your body can eliminate wastes through perspiration.
10. What is the most important way to detoxify? “Exercise," says Peter Bennett, N.D., co-author of 7-Day Detox Miracle. "Yoga or jump-roping are good. One hour every day." Also try Qigong, a martial-arts based exercise system that includes exercises specifically for detoxifying or cleansing, as well as many other exercises with specific health benefits.
How has detoxing made you feel? Any steps you’ve tried that you’d recommend or tell others to avoid?
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By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie
Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?
Triangle of Mistruths<p>The myth created around plastic recycling has been one of simplicity. We look for the familiar triangle arrows, then pop the waste in the recycling bin so it can be reused.</p><p>But the true purpose of those triangles has been misunderstood by the general public ever since their invention in the 1980s.</p><p>These triangles were actually created by the plastics industry and, according to a report provided to them in July 1993, <a href="https://www.npr.org/transcripts/912150085" target="_blank">were creating "unrealistic expectations"</a> about what could be recycled. But they decided to keep using the codes.</p><p>Which is why many people still believe that these triangular symbols (also known as a <a href="https://sustainablepackaging.org/101-resin-identification-codes/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">resin identifier code</a> or RIC) means something is recyclable.</p><p>But according to the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) – which controls the RIC system – the numbered triangles "<a href="https://www.astm.org/Standards/D7611.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">are not recycle codes</a>." In fact, they weren't created for the general public at all. They were made for the post-consumer plastic industry.</p><p>In other words, the symbols make it easier to sort the different types of plastics, some of which cannot be recycled – <a href="https://www.ecobin.com.au/understand-recycling-codes/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">depending on the recycling facility</a>.</p><p>"Unfortunately, just placing your plastic into the recycling bin doesn't mean it will get recycled," says Lara Camilla Pinho. She is an architect and lecturer at the UWA School of Design who is researching novel uses of plastic waste.</p><p>"The recycling system is complicated and often dictated by market demand. Not all plastic is recyclable. We cannot recycle plastic bags or straws for example."</p>
Behind the Scenes<p>So, what makes recycling plastics so difficult?</p><p>"Essentially, there are two types of plastics – thermoplastics and thermosets. While thermoplastics can be re-melted and re-molded, thermosets contain cross-linked polymers that cannot be separated meaning they cannot be recycled," says Lara.</p><p>"Even thermoplastics have a limit to the amount of times we can recycle them, as each time they are recycled they downgrade in quality."</p><p>Even when plastics are recyclable, it is <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/13/war-on-plastic-waste-faces-setback-as-cost-of-recycled-material-soars" target="_blank">often more costly</a> than simply making new plastics.</p>
Sugar, Seaweed and Mushrooms<p>If the conventional recycling system isn't working, what else can we do with all the plastic we've created?</p><p>Lara is looking for ways to add value to recycled plastics such as using it in the design and development of architectural products. She hopes to use these architectural products to help underserved communities that are disproportionately affected by plastic waste.</p><p>In addition to recycling, we also need to find ways to reduce our use of virgin petroleum-based plastics.</p><p>Bioplastic is one such product that has been getting a lot of hype over the last few years. And although they're better than petroleum-based plastics, bioplastics also come with their own <a href="https://phys.org/news/2017-12-truth-bioplastics.html" target="_blank">set of challenges</a>.</p><p>"There are already a lot of bio-based alternatives to plastic, such as bagasse – a byproduct of sugar cane processing," says Lara.</p><p><a href="https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-mycelium-revolution-is-upon-us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mycelium</a>, a type of fungi we most often associate with mushrooms, are also providing an interesting plastic alternative.</p><p>"In the field of architecture, mycelium is starting to be used as an alternative to plastic insulation, but also as compostable packaging and bricks," says Lara.</p><p>"The bricks take around five days to make and are strong, durable, water resistant and compostable at the end of their use."</p><p><a href="https://www.arup.com/news-and-events/hyfi-reinvents-the-brick" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hy-Fi Tower</a>, created by <a href="http://www.thelivingnewyork.com/living_about.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Living</a>, is an example of a building made from these bricks.</p><p>And finally, there's seaweed.</p><p>"[Seaweed is] cheap and can reproduce itself quickly without fertilizers. In architecture, there is use for seaweed as an alternative to plastic insulation but also as cladding," says Lara.</p>
More Money, More Problems<p>While all these alternatives are great, the main cause of our plastic dilemma is not scientific or technological, but economic.</p><p>As long as it remains <a href="https://engineering.mit.edu/engage/ask-an-engineer/why-is-it-cheaper-to-make-new-plastic-bottles-than-to-recycle-old-ones/" target="_blank">cheaper to create new plastics</a> from fossil fuels rather than from bioplastics or from recycling, we're going to be stuck with plastic garbage islands floating in our oceans.</p><p>The true cost to our health and our environment has yet to be included in the equation. But once it is, maybe that is when the real shift will happen.</p>
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Plain Naturals offers a 5000mg CBD oil tincture in 30ml bottle for $99.99.<p>Consumers have gotten used to paying high prices for low amounts of cannabidiol. Plain Naturals is beginning to change that. There are myriad <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/%23:~:text=Chronic%2520use%2520and%2520high%2520doses,be%2520well%2520tolerated%2520by%2520humans.&text=Nonetheless%252C%2520some%2520side%2520effects%2520have,vitro%2520or%2520in%2520animal%2520studies." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">studies</a> showing that low doses of CBD (less than 50mg per day) are ineffective for many users. And many clinical <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/%23:~:text=Chronic%2520use%2520and%2520high%2520doses,be%2520well%2520tolerated%2520by%2520humans.&text=Nonetheless%252C%2520some%2520side%2520effects%2520have,vitro%2520or%2520in%2520animal%2520studies." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">studies</a> have shown effective dosages of 100 - 800mg per day to be effective for many conditions ranging from <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/%23:~:text=Chronic%2520use%2520and%2520high%2520doses,be%2520well%2520tolerated%2520by%2520humans.&text=Nonetheless%252C%2520some%2520side%2520effects%2520have,vitro%2520or%2520in%2520animal%2520studies." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">anxiety and depression to Parkinson's disease and cancer</a>. And several <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/%23:~:text=Chronic%2520use%2520and%2520high%2520doses,be%2520well%2520tolerated%2520by%2520humans.&text=Nonetheless%252C%2520some%2520side%2520effects%2520have,vitro%2520or%2520in%2520animal%2520studies." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">studies</a> published by the National Institutes of Health have shown up to 1500mg per day to be consistently "well-tolerated" by adults. </p><p>Now it is always recommended to begin with a lower dosage and increase until an effective dose has been reached. But the advantage of starting with a higher potency CBD oil is that it is much easier to use less to start with and increase over time than to buy very low dose CBD oil and ultimately end up buying more and more stronger products. To start at 50mg per dose of a 5000mg oil, you would simply use ⅓ dropper or about 10-12 drops.</p>
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