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How Inflammation Could Be Preventing You From Losing Weight & Foods To Help You Combat It

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Many people believe that inflammation causes a variety of ailments and diseases, and this is true, at least to some degree. But inflammation is also a natural, healthy response to cellular damage, and the response of a healthy immune system to a perceived threat. Chronic Inflammation, however, is a symptom of something negative happening in the body, and it forces us to investigate and discover the root cause of our discomfort.

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When inflammation happens it acts as an alarm to the body, telling it to bring in disease fighting cells and extra nutrition to heal the damage on the area. When any part of the body is inflamed, it is either damaged and healing or damaged and deteriorating.

In this case, damage is cause by cell trauma. External force or internal trauma is caused either by toxicity of some kind and/or a lack of nutrition, which leads to cells malfunctioning.

So when our intestinal tract is inflamed, we are not absorbing nutrients, putting us into starvation mode which in turn results in elevated levels of cortisol, which can cause a myriad of different illnesses.

Symptons

  • Ongoing, irritating pain in the body (like the joints or muscles)
  • Allergies or asthma (especially when they keep getting worse)
  • High blood pressure or blood sugar problems
  • Ulcers and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (constipation or diarrhea)
  • Constant fatigue or lethargy
  • Skin problems or red, bloodshot eyes

Below is a list of Anti-Inflammatory Foods to help you combat inflammation, courtesy of Live Science and Prevention:

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  • Cold-water fish: These are among the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Jimenez recommended salmon, herring, tuna and mackerel and advised consuming two or three servings (about 12 ounces or 340 grams) per week.
  • Avocados: “Avocados have great anti-inflammatory properties,” said Laura Flores, a San Diego-based nutritionist. They contain “phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and polyhydroxolated fatty alcohols” — compounds that can help reduce inflammation. A 2013 study in the journal Food & Function found that people who ate a hamburger with avocado had lower CRP levels four hours after eating than those who did not.
  • Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, Brussels sprout, kale and cauliflower and other green leafy veggies contain sulforaphane, which is associated with blocking enzymes that are linked to joint deterioration and, consequently, chronic inflammation, according to Victoria Jarzabkowski, a nutritionist with the Fitness Institute of Texas at the University of Texas at Austin. Sulforaphane also may be able to prevent or reverse damage to blood vessel linings caused by chronic blood sugar problems and inflammation.
  • Watermelon: Watermelon contains lycopene, a cellular inhibitor for various inflammatory processes. It also works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals. Additionally, watermelon contains choline, which helps keep chronic inflammation down, according to a 2006 article published in Shock medical journal.
  • Walnuts and other nuts: Jimenez said that these are another great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Onions: Their anti-inflammatory properties have made them a popular home remedy for asthma for centuries. Onions are a good source of quercetin, which inhibits histamines known to cause inflammation, according Jimenez.
  • Whole grains: Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and bulgur wheat have been associated with decreased CRP levels, according to studies in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research and in the Journal of Nutrition. Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate fewer whole grains actually had higher inflammation markers. The fiber in whole grains can help mediate inflammatory processes by helping with weight loss and feeding beneficial gut bacteria associated with lower levels of inflammation, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
  • Certain spicesThe University of Wisconsin lists ginger, rosemary, turmeric, oregano, cayenne, cloves and nutmeg as possessing anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit the biochemical process of inflammation.
  • Raisins: Berries are bright, shiny, and famously chock-full of free radical–fighting antioxidants, but as you stock up on the blue-and-red beauties, keep in mind that their wrinkly relative, the raisin, can also keep inflammation in check. “Snacking on raisins, and other fruit in general, tends to reduce a marker of inflammation known as TNF-alpha,” says Jim Painter, PhD, RD, a professor at Eastern Illinois University.
  • Soy: Beans in general are great sources of anti-inflammatory botanical compounds known as phytonutrients, but soy has been singled out by researchers for its ability to reduce the inflammation marker C-reactive protein, says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD, author of The SuperfoodsRx Diet. This is great news for your heart—high levels of C-reactive protein have been linked to coronary artery disease. Another bean benefit: the protein-rich, satisfying legumes are good candidates to displace pro-inflammatory meat in meals. (But make sure your soy is organic, non-GMO.)
  • Salmon: Salmon may be pricier than most four-legged meat options, but it’s a notoriously good source of omega-3 fatty acids. It also bests plant-based sources of the nutrient, which your body can’t process as well. But you don’t need to make it the main event at every meal. In fact, all you really need to do is aim to minimize your ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. “Just a fifth of a teaspoon of fish oil to a teaspoon of omega-3 fatty acids a day is the amount you need to bring your fat consumption into balance,” Painter says.
  • Ginger: This spicy root has gained a following for its nausea-calming powers, but it has another trick up its sleeve—inflammation crushing. Studies have linked the root to lowered post-exercise inflammation and a drop in joint pain caused by the chronic inflammatory conditions osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While researchers haven’t pinpointed its anti-inflammatory effects to a single component, it’s likely one of the culprits is the plant’s active compound gingerol, Bazilian says.
  • Sweet Potato: Nutrient-packed sweet potatoes are great news for your heart, skin, and immune heath, but bad news for inflammation markers. “Foods high in the vitamins C and E and the carotenoids, alpha- and beta-carotene, like sweet potatoes, are anti-inflammatory,” Rosenbloom says. And they’re not the only orange food you should load up on; pumpkins, cantaloupe, apricots, and carrots are also good sources of carotenoids and vitamins.
  • Cherries: One fruit that stands out from the pack is the tart cherry. Like berries, the fleshy fruit abounds in anthocyanins (a type of phytonutrient), but it also delivers a uniquely powerful dose of anti-inflammatory compounds. “Tart cherries contain higher levels of both anthocyanins 1 and 2,” Bazilian explains. If that sounds a little technical, just think of it this way—you’re getting a double whammy of inflammation-fighting ingredients.
  • Kale: Along with fellow cruciferous vegetables arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and wasabi, kale is rich in sulfur, which forces your liver to put it through two detox cycles, instead of one. That may sound like a pain, but it’s actually beneficial: The second run-through stimulates your body to churn out more phase II enzymes, which break down toxins in the same way your digestive enzymes break down food. “Phase II enzymes help clean your body out by reducing the toxic load,” says Painter.
  • Walnuts: You’d be hard-pressed to find a nut without anti-inflammatory benefits, but walnuts have managed to earn the spotlight in this category. “Walnuts have the highest concentration of plant-based omega-3s, more than 10 antioxidant phytonutrients, and polyphenols that also play a role in reducing inflammation,” Bazilian says.
  • Tea: You can even battle inflammation between meals by sipping on green, white, and black teas, Rosenbloom says. They’re steeped in free radical-fighting catechins, a polyphenolic compound found in the leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant. The more antioxidants you’re taking in, the better. “It’s best to adopt a diet rich in foods that are anti-inflammatory instead of concentrating on one or two superfoods,” she says.

 

To help you even further, I took recipes from Prevention.com that help to soothe inflammation and have included them below. Enjoy!

Amaranth Porridge

amaranth porridge600x450

SERVINGS: 2

⅔ c whole-grain amaranth
2 c filtered water
¼ c hemp or pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp raw honey
1 tsp cinnamon
½ c blueberries or dried cranberries (apple juice sweetened)
1 med pear, chopped

1. COMBINE the amaranth and water in a skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Amaranth’s sticky consistency calls for a cast-iron or titanium surface to minimize heavy cleanup. If you don’t have a natural nonstick skillet, you can use a heavy 2-quart saucepan, but make sure to stir the porridge frequently to avoid sticking.
2. BRING to a boil, cover, and turn down to low heat. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once every 10 minutes to ensure the grains don’t stick to the pot, until the liquid is completely absorbed.
4. REMOVE from heat and add the seeds, raw honey, and cinnamon, stirring well. Divide the hot cereal between two bowls (or put one portion in a sealable container for the next day), and top with blueberries and pear.

NUTRITION (per serving) 460 cal, 17 g pro, 73 g carb, 14 g fiber, 22 g sugars, 12 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 20 mg sodium

Recipe by Julie Daniluk

 

Krispy Kale Chips

krispy kale chips600x450

SERVINGS: 8

2 bunches green curly kale (20 c), washed, large stems removed, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 c fresh cashews, soaked 2 hours
1 c sweet potato, grated
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp raw honey
½ tsp gray sea salt or pink rock salt
2 Tbsp filtered water

1. PLACE the kale in a large mixing bowl.
2. PROCESS remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
3. POUR over kale and mix thoroughly with your hands to coat the kale. (You want this mixture to be really glued on the kale.)
4. PLACE kale onto unbleached parchment paper, set your oven to 150 degrees and dehydrate for 2 hours. At one point, turn over leaves to ensure even drying.
5. REMOVE and store in an airtight container. Makes about 8 cups.

NUTRITION (per serving) 190 cal, 11 g pro, 26 g carb, 5 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 8 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 200 mg sodium

Recipe by Julie Daniluk

(You can also try our Sour Cream & Onion Kale Chips)

 

Beet the Detox Salad

beet salad600x450

SERVINGS: 4

1 lg beet, coarsely grated
1 lg carrot, coarsely grated
1 lg apple, diced
2 Tbsp almonds, chopped
2 Tbsp flax, hemp, perilla, or pumpkin seed oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 c mixed greens
Optional additions:
2 Tbsp fresh dill or parsely, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp gray sea salt or pink rock salt

1.TOSS all ingredients, except for the mixed greens, together in a large bowl. Mix in optional additions if using. You can make the dressing up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate.
2. DIVIDE mixed greens between 4 plates and top with apple mixture.

NUTRITION (per serving) 130 cal, 2 g pro, 12 g carb, 4 g fiber, 8 g sugars, 9 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 40 mg sodium

Recipe by Julie Daniluk

 

Cinnamon Baked Apples

cinnamon baked apples600x450
SERVINGS: 4

½ c various nuts and/or seeds
¼ c dried cranberries (apple juice sweetened)
2 dates, pitted and chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
4 apples
¼ c unpasteurized liquid honey
1 c apple juice or cider

1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F degrees.
2. MIX nuts or seeds, cranberries, dates, ginger root, and spices in a bowl.
3. DON’T peel the apples, since most of the fiber and nutrients are in the skin. Being careful not to cut through the bottom of the apple, cut out the core.
4. STUFF each apple with the nut/seed mixture, then drizzle with honey and place in an 8 x 8 inch square baking dish.
5. POUR the juice around the fruit to keep it moist.
6. BAKE for 30 to 35 minutes, until the fruit is soft. Serve warm.

NUTRITION (per serving) 350 cal, 4 g pro, 69 g carb, 7 g fiber, 56 g sugars, 10 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 5 mg sodium

Recipe by Julie Daniluk

 

Kale Salad

kale salad600x450

SERVINGS: 4

6 c dinosaur kale, chopped
½ lemon
Pinch of dried basil
Pinch of gray sea salt or pink rock salt
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive or chia, flax, or hemp seed oil
2 Tbsp red onion, minced
2 Tbsp green onion, chopped (about 1 whole onion)
1 sm cucumber, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ c chopped kalamata olives

1. WASH kale and cut into small strips.
2. LIGHTLY steam the kale for 5 to 7 minutes in a steamer basket. Transfer to a large bowl and add lemon, basil, salt, and oil. Toss.
3. ADD the remaining ingredients and mix well.

NUTRITION (per serving) 150 cal, 5 g pro, 13 g carb, 3 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 10 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 490 mg sodium

Recipe by Julie Daniluk

 

Raw Pad Thai

raw pad thai600x450

SERVINGS: 4

1 med zucchini
1 lg carrot
1 green onion, chopped
½ c shredded purple cabbage
½ c cauliflower florets
½ c mung bean sprouts or radish sprouts (spicy)
Sauce:
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp almond butter
1 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
2 Tbsp tamari (wheat-free)
1 Tbsp raw honey
¼ tsp garlic, minced
½ tsp ginger root, grated

1. USE a mandoline or vegetable peeler to create noodles from the carrots and zucchini. Place them in a large mixing bowl and top with the vegetables.
2. WHISK sauce ingredients in a bowl. The sauce will be thick, but will thin out after it’s mixed with the vegetables.
3. POUR the sauce over the noodles and vegetables, and toss. This dish tastes even better the next day once the flavors have had a chance to blend.

NUTRITION (per serving) 140 cal, 6 g pro, 14 g carb, 3 g fiber, 8 g sugars, 9 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 510 mg sodium

Recipe by Julie Daniluk

Sources

http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/issue/15-what-causes-chronic-inflammation-and-how-to-stop-it-for-good

http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/10/chronic-inflammation-signs-symptoms-and-testing/

http://www.livescience.com/52344-inflammation.html

http://www.prevention.com/food/food-remedies/10-foods-that-help-fight-inflammation

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What Can Happen To Your Body When You Ingest Okra

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple studies show that Okra can have some amazing benefits.

  • Reflect On:

    Reflect on the western diet, and the fact that multiple diseases continue to be on the rise exponentially while the medical industry pays no attention to nutrition.

“Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor.”

— Egyptian pyramid inscription, 3800 B.C

Abelmoschus esculentus, or Hibiscus esculentus, also known as Okra, is a widely used vegetable all over the world. While some people dislike it because of its ‘slimy’ texture, this vegetable is loaded with a number of health benefits that make it worth including in your diet.

Okra originated in Egypt, and people have been growing it since the 12th century. It can be consumed in a variety of different ways, such as stewed, fried, or even fermented, and is usually served with other vegetables and rice or put into soups.

The Many Health Benefits of Okra

According to a study published in 2005 in the Jilin Medical Journal, okra showed positive effects on nephropathy, or kidney disease. For the study, participants were put into two different groups — one was treated with okra, and the other was treated with traditional medical therapy. The study lasted six months, and while there were no changes among the group who used traditional therapy, those who took their treatment with the okra saw a reduction in uric acid and urine protein. (source)

A study published in the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal outlined okra’s ability to protect against liver disease. Because of its strong antioxidant activities, okra was found to protect against chemically induced liver damage. The study also found okra to have strong antioxidant and hepaprotective  properties, comparable to milk thistle or silymarin. (source)

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A study published in the Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences found that okra extracts could protect against diabetes. When rats with diabetes were given okra, they saw a decrease in their blood sugar levels and a normalization of their lipid profile levels. Multiple in vitro and in vivo studies have found okra to be a major blood glucose-lowering food. It contains large amounts of soluble dietary fibre, which is why it has been used traditionally as an alternative treatment for diabetes.

Okra has also demonstrated its ability to fight cancer, having shown action against breast cancer cells, but only in preliminary lab studies. Researchers have discovered that a newly discovered lectin (a type of protein that can bind to cell membranes) in okra, Abelmoschus esculentus (AEL), actually induces cell death in human breast cancer cells, in vitro by 72%.

Research has also shown okra to effectively fight depression. Although some fruits and vegetables have been shown to have various effects on mood, including the ability to elevate mood (flavonoids and quercertin), Okra had not made the list until recently, thanks to researchers from Mazandaran University of Medical Science. Their results showed that okra seed extracts acted as as strong agent for elevating mood, in some cases performing just as well as common antidepressants. Apparently, the positive mood effect of okra can be attributed to its high total phenol and flavonoid content. (source)(source)

When I come across scientifically validated information that sheds light on the knowledge of our ancestors and ancients, I am never surprised. This is commonly seen with quantum physics, astronomy, health, and spirituality, where our modern day measurements of ‘truth’ correlate with teachings of our ancient world.

It’s good to see science shed light on the healing properties found within nature, as it’s a branch of knowledge we have neglected for many years now. Chemical based health, and our reliance on pharmaceutical grade medicine, has completely taken over, which is perhaps one reason why chronic illness and disease continue to rise.

“Let food by thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

– Hippocrates

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Institutional Inertia: Is Enough Being Done to Protect Children from Aluminum Toxicity?

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Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. For most of human history, aluminum was not bioavailable; however, it became so in the late 1880s when chemists developed and patented the smelting process that helped turned the metal into the fixture of modern life—and the omnipresent “ecotoxin”—that it is today. Roughly 130 years later, it is no exaggeration to say that aluminum has become an active (albeit unhelpful) “participant in human evolution.”

The scientist citing aluminum’s outsized biological influence—Professor Chris Exley of the United Kingdom’s Keele University—is one of the world’s foremost aluminum experts. He points out that because aluminum exposure is largely insidious, complacency about aluminum’s effects persists despite the nearly universal body burden that human beings now carry. While the metal’s effects appear to be “invariably deleterious,” variables such as age and gender also shape vulnerability. Infants in their first year of life are particularly susceptible to aluminum bioaccumulation, raising concerns about the high levels of absorbable aluminum reported in infant formula and in the parenteral (intravenous) nutrition solutions given to premature babies. Suggesting that these reports represent the “tip of an iceberg,” one group of researchers cautions that not only does aluminum constitute a “significant component of newborns’ exposure to xenobiotics and contaminants,” but the consequences of aluminum overload in the perinatal period can have pathological consequences that persist into adulthood.

Two routes of early exposure

Studies documenting aluminum contamination of infant formula date as far back as the mid-1980s, and many have recommended doing something about it. Yet, a quarter of a century later, when Professor Exley and a coauthor examined the aluminum content of fifteen leading brands of formula, they found that 2010 levels remained virtually unchanged—and were about 10 to 40 times higher than the amount of aluminum in human breast milk. Depending on the brand, the aluminum content ranged from 200 to 700 micrograms per liter of formula—the equivalent of up to 600 micrograms ingested per day based on standard formula intake. At these levels, a healthy six-month-old boy weighing 7.9 kilograms would take in almost 80 micrograms of aluminum per kilogram per day (μg/kg/day), far in excess of the maximum daily dose of 4 to 5 μg/kg/day recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of “accumulation and toxicity.”

One out of every 10 U.S. infants is born preterm, and the preterm birth rate has risen every year since 2015. These premature babies face a particularly elevated risk of “systemic aluminum intoxication.” Due to the immaturity of their gastrointestinal (GI) system, it is common practice to administer nutrients parenterally, sometimes for weeks on end. However, parenteral nutrition (PN) solutions exhibit the same “unresolved” (and decades-old) aluminum toxicity problems as infant formula. One study reported that keeping within the FDA’s recommended aluminum limit of no more than 5 μg/kg/day would only be “feasible” in PN patients weighing 50 or more kilos—and most preterm infants weigh well under three kilograms at birth. Even worse, after premature infants leave the hospital, they often transition to a diet of aluminum-containing formula.

Infants—including preemies—are more vulnerable to aluminum toxicity than adults for several reasons. First, infants have a blood-brain barrier that is highly susceptible to disruption by drugs and toxins. Second, infants lack adequate GI protection, and oral ingestion of aluminum worsens the problem by damaging gut homeostasis (to the point that researchers consider it a risk factor for various inflammatory bowel diseases). Third, whereas the kidney is the organ that the body relies on to excrete aluminum (both ingested and intravenous), the neonate’s kidney is “functionally immature,” making aluminum accumulation “inevitable.” Even in adults with normal kidney function, studies show that only 30% to 60% of the PN aluminum load gets excreted, resulting in build-up of aluminum in the bones and tissues (notably the brain, liver and kidney).

Inertia and its consequences

Taking stock of manufacturer inertia with regard to infant formula’s aluminum content, Professor Exley speculated in 2010 that manufacturers either are failing to monitor their products’ aluminum content or “are not concerned at these levels of contamination.” In either case, he notes, manufacturers have little excuse for their inaction: “Manufacturers of infant formulas have been made fully aware of the potentially compounded issue of both the contamination by aluminium and the heightened vulnerability, from the point of view of a newborn’s developing physiology, of infants fed such formulas.”

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Early exposure to high levels of aluminum can have varied harmful effects, increasing children’s longer-term disease susceptibility as well as contributing to conditions such as uremia (a type of kidney disease), bone disorders and neurologic disorders, among others. A study that followed preterm infants for 15 years into adolescence found that the teens who had been exposed to parenteral aluminum had reduced bone mass in the lumbar spine and hips—risk factors for later hip fractures and osteoporosis.

Other routes of exposure

Infant formula and PN are not babies’ only routes of exposure to high levels of aluminum. Studies point to possible toxic effects for the embryo and fetus (including effects on fetal metabolism) resulting from maternal use of antacids and other aluminum-containing pharmaceutical products. Moreover, common components of a pregnant woman’s diet (such as the citric acid found in fruit) increase absorption of the aluminum in these products.

Aluminum adjuvants in vaccines are another significant source of early exposure. Young children receive multiple aluminum-containing vaccines in their first three years, and more as adolescents. A two-month-old infant may receive up to 1,225 micrograms of aluminum from the vaccines administered at a single well-baby visit and a cumulative 4,925 micrograms by 18 months of age. Regulators have never properly assessed these astronomical levels of aluminum for safety. Co-exposure to aluminum and mercury (still present in influenza vaccines) makes matters synergistically worse.

Injection as the route of exposure is another important consideration. Toxicologists note that “Depending on the type and route of exposure,” aluminum clearance may have multiple half-lives estimated in hours, days—or years. Evidence indicates that the body does not easily eliminate vaccine forms of aluminum, which can make their way into the brain; in fact, manufacturers have expressly designed the aluminum used in vaccines to provide “long-lasting cellular exposure.”

In 2018, Exley published another groundbreaking study that confirmed the presence of consistently high levels of aluminum in the brains of individuals who had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Other studies have linked aluminum to autism severity. In a recent letter published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology by an independent scientist, the writer describes three converging lines of evidence supporting a link between aluminum adjuvants (Al-adjuvants) and ASD: ecological correlations of vaccination and aluminum adjuvants; experiments in mice; and the discovery of aluminum in ASD brains. He concludes:

While there may certainly be not enough “hard data” evidence to claim that Al-adjuvants in vaccines are responsible for ASD, there is even less evidence supporting the opposite conclusion that Al-adjuvants are completely safe to use without any long-term downfall.

Banishing complacency

Thus far, regulators and manufacturers—whether of infant formula, PN solutions, vaccines or other aluminum-containing products—have been largely tone-deaf to the crescendo of studies pointing to aluminum toxicity in the very young (or, for that matter, in individuals across the life span). Among those sounding the alarm, many have taken pains to distance themselves from conceding the potential risks of aluminum adjuvants, cavalierly dismissing the aluminum in vaccines as a “relatively small amount.” Even without accounting for adjuvant risks, though, aluminum experts recognize the importance of banishing complacency. Reducing “aluminum-related human pathology, not only in neonates but even in children and adults,” they admit, is also likely to contribute to “the prevention of the epidemic increase of neurodegenerative diseases of elderly people.”

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50 Things You Could Be Doing Instead Of Staring At A Screen

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The average adult spends as much as 12 hours a day in front of a screen while at home.

  • Reflect On:

    How much of our screen time is providing value to our lives? Is our screen time benefiting us or taking time away from doing what we love and spending real, quality time connecting with friends and family?

There is no doubt about it, screens have become a central part of many of our lives. From the moment we wake up and turn off our alarms and do a quick check of Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter notifications, email, and other apps — screens have the capacity to suck us in, right from the start of the day. The act of checking our screens has become so common nowadays that many of us spend the majority of our waking lives staring at various screens including smartphones, tablets, and computers.

There are some people who argue that before smartphones and tablets, it was the television set, and before that, the radio, and before that, the newspaper. However, we can’t ignore the fact that it is currently an epidemic, as many people (myself included at times) are so sucked into this virtual reality, they do not realize that it is a potentially harmful addiction.

Some believe that this type of technology is just a natural part of human evolution and that in may ways it benefits our lives. To a degree, this is true, as there are many amazing perks of technology and it absolutely can be used to benefit our lives — being able to access any information we are seeking, learning a new language, instrument, or practically anything we want, attending online courses, webinars or education programs, connecting with loved ones that are far way. But really think about your screen time and how it’s spent. Is it benefiting your life in any way? Or is it a compulsive habit? Whenever you have a spare moment–waiting in line, in an elevator, whenever you feel that you are bored–is that when you reach for your phone? Are you mindlessly scrolling through your Newsfeed, photofeed or Twitter feed? Potentially comparing your life to others, getting lost looking at the pictures from people you hardly know? Obsessing over celebrities and “influencers” that actually provide no value to your life? Sometimes we might have the T.V. on, watching a show, whilst at the same time mindlessly scrolling through our feeds. This is a double screen-time wham-o! Essentially getting lost in whatever is available to take you away from yourself and basically inhibit your ability to give love, care and attention to yourself.

We Are Wasting Valuable Time

Many of us, again often including myself, have dealt with a deep dissatisfaction with our lives — maybe we are not happy with our careers or our relationships, or perhaps we lack purpose, passion and drive. Yet, instead of doing something that could benefit ourselves, we instead choose to escape those feelings. We reach for our screens in a desperate attempt to get our next “fix,” our dopamine hit that gives us temporary relief from our dissatisfaction with our lives. This IS an addiction and it is important to be aware of that. What would happen if instead, we leaned into our feelings of discomfort and spent time in deep reflection about what is working in our lives and what’s not?

Using Tech To Help Moderate Our Use Of Tech

A great tool for me has been an app called “Moment” that basically tracks your screen time and how much time has been spent on each app. Without consciously trying to change your screen time habits, I challenge you to download this app and check out your screen time at the end of each day. Much like I was, you may be surprised to learn how much time you might be completely throwing away on social media.

After all, “Lost time is never found again.”

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If you’re like me, you may be thinking, “Well, what the heck else am I supposed to be doing?” And you may still enjoy spending some time on social media, but as with pretty much everything else in life, moderation is key! You may want to try setting a daily limit for screen time for yourself and sticking to it. If you can’t, then you know you may have a problem worth exploring.

50 Things You Can Do Instead Of Staring At A Screen

Below I have provided a list of 50 things you could be doing instead of scrolling or staring at a screen. While some of these are going to seem extremely obvious, you may not always think of them when you are sucked into the glowing light of a screen. This is meant to be a quick reference, it may be even beneficial to print this list off or copy it onto a physical piece of paper so that you ironically don’t need a screen to view it.

  1. Read a book
  2. Read a magazine
  3. Go for a walk
  4. Go for a hike
  5. Clean out your closet
  6. Write in your journal
  7. Play an instrument
  8. Play with your pet
  9. Practice a new language
  10. Listen to a podcast
  11. Draw a picture
  12. Paint a picture
  13. Literally sit and do nothing
  14. Meditate
  15. Stretch
  16. Do yoga
  17. Go to the gym
  18. Workout from home
  19. Call up a friend (use headphones or speakerphone to chat)
  20. Write a letter you intend to send
  21. Write a letter you don’t intend to send
  22. Plan out tasks you intend to accomplish within the next week
  23. Bake something
  24. Cook something
  25. Meet a friend for tea
  26. Play a board game or cards
  27. Go swimming
  28. Do a massage exchange with a friend
  29. Redecorate your home
  30. Give yourself an opportunity to really feel your feelings
  31. Notice the urge to reach for your phone
  32. Practice grounding
  33. Volunteer your time
  34. Go to a comedy show
  35. Listen to music
  36. Color
  37. Write a list of 10 things you are grateful for
  38. Go to the library
  39. Try something new
  40. Sit in quiet reflection
  41. Study something that sparks your interest using books
  42. Get clear on your vision for the next 5 years of your life
  43. Go to a Meetup group
  44. Dance around your living room
  45. Practice eye-gazing with yourself in the mirror, or with someone else
  46. Clean out your fridge
  47. Take a cold shower
  48. Have a bath
  49. Downsize your belongings
  50. Repair something that is broken

Bonus* Make a list of things that you’ve always wanted to do, but felt like you haven’t had the time.

Much Love

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