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Awareness

From Sunscreen to Bug Spray: How To Protect Your Kids From Chemical Poisoning This Summer

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    From chemical-ladened sunscreens to bug sprays with DEET, there is plenty to be cautious about before lathering up your kids in the name of protection.

  • Reflect On:

    What simple changes can you make to protect your family this summer?

Summertime should be a carefree time of year as we head out on vacation, go to the beach, or hike in the woods. We shouldn’t have to worry about the products that we use or the environmental toxins that might be hanging around. Unfortunately, in today’s world, our children’s bodies are getting bombarded with neurotoxins and cancer-causing chemicals at every turn. If we compare total body burden to a container, we can only fill it to capacity. Anything above capacity causes spillover or, in other words, allergy symptoms and ultimately sickness.

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Here are some tips for reducing toxic exposure:

  1. Stop using chemical sunscreens.
  2. Stay away from conventional bug spray with DEET and other harmful chemicals.
  3. Avoid playgrounds and sports fields that use mulch made from recycled rubber tires.
  4. Reduce exposure to weed killers and pesticides found on grass, and in food.
  5. Do not drink from plastic bottles, especially ones left in the hot sun or a warm car.
  6. Prevent your child from drinking from a hose.

Chemical Sunscreens

It’s time we stop lathering our kids and ourselves with chemical sunscreen. Many ingredients in conventional sunscreens are not safe for humans or aquatic life. It is time that we stop using them. There is an abundance of data that links the ingredient Octinoxate to thyroid dysfunction, endocrine disruption, and reproductive toxicity. It is also believed to affect development, brain function, and metabolism. Oxybenzone, sometimes called benzophenone-3, is linked to endocrine disruption,  organ toxicity, and allergies. Homosalate is used to prevent the body from absorbing UV light. This ingredient is linked to hormone disruption and is believed to enhance the absorption of toxic bug spray and pesticides.  Other dangerous ingredients include: artificial fragrances and preservatives such as BHT, which when applied to the skin is believed to be associated with toxic effects in lung tissue.

Vitamin D3 – The Sunshine Vitamin

Despite widespread belief, moderate sun exposure is beneficial to our health. Vitamin D, especially the form D3 or “the sunshine vitamin,” is the only vitamin your body makes itself with the help of the sun. So be sure to get enough sun exposure to help the body make this essential nutrient. Low vitamin D levels in your blood are linked to a higher incidence of cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and many other degenerative diseases. So, hold off on trying to protect yourself from the rays of the sun at every turn. Allow yourself to play outside, garden, and enjoy the rays in moderation.

Safer Alternatives

To protect ourselves from overexposure to UV rays and help prevent skin cancer, here are some tips:

  1. Cover-up. Wear hats and protective clothing when appropriate.
  2. Be more mindful about sitting in the shade or purchase a sun umbrella. UV rays are most harmful between 10 am and 4 pm.
  3. Shop for natural, mineral-zinc based, certified products free from toxic chemicals. Use products that are safer for your family and wildlife. When my family is exposed to extremely hot climates or when they are in the sun for extended periods of time, we use sunscreens by Badger, Babo Botanicals, Goddess Garden, and 7th Avenue products.
  4. Use lotion over sprays as to not inhale any particles, which may pose a risk no matter how safe the ingredients. Also, lotions ensure a more even application, so you know you are completely covered.

Conventional Bug Spray

Are you being poisoned by your bug spray? Most bug repellents contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) or Picaridin as their active ingredient. Many do not realize how harmful these chemicals are to their health. DEET is linked to seizures, slurred speech, confusion, rashes, and other neurological disturbances. It can melt plastic and other synthetic fabrics, so you can imagine what it may do to your body. DEET is also believed to cause cell death. Picaridin does not seem to carry the same neurotoxicity as DEET. However, it is a chemical created by Bayer in the 1980s and does seem to pose some risks. A review of reports to the National Poison Data System between 2000 and 2015 found only one moderate effect reported from the use of picaridin-containing products – the remaining cases were classified as having minor impacts including ocular irritation, pain, vomiting, and oral irritation.

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Safer Alternatives

To protect ourselves from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and other pesky insects, here are some tips:

  1. Wear pants, a hat, socks, shoes, and long sleeves, especially when venturing into the woods, dense brush, or tall grass with possible bug infestations.
  2. Be mindful of adding extra protection during the early morning and evening hours as well as during periods of peeked humidity. Use nets or bug zappers over outdoor eating areas. Place nets over strollers and baby carriers.
  3. Shop for natural insect repellants that do not use harmful chemicals. Use products that are safer for your family and wildlife. Just be careful about using bug spray that contains Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus on children younger than three years old. Some products I love that work extremely well are Skedattle – Natural Bug Spray, Buzz Away, and Herbal Armor.
  4. Make your bug spray. Mix ½ cup of witch hazel, ½ cup of vinegar, and one Tbs of rubbing alcohol with a generous amount of lavender essential oil, geranium oil, rosemary oil, and citronella oil (10-30 drops of each) in a glass spray bottle and apply.
  5. Rub any dried leaf from the lavender or mint family all over your body to the delicate parts of the body such as underarms, behind ears, and neck.
  6. Eat garlic and drink Cistus tea. Bugs hate both, and your skin will secrete them acting as a natural deterrent.
  7. Pretreat your clothing with natural repellants by spraying it ahead of wearing it.

Recycled Tire Mulch

Children and athletes are exposed to dangerous turf and playgrounds. There has been increasing evidence that rubber and other synthetic materials used on playground surfaces and athletic fields are toxic to our health. They contain phthalates (chemicals that affect hormones, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other chemicals. These chemicals are also linked to an increased risk of birth defects and cancer.

Synthetic Pesticides & Weed Killers

From the food we eat to the grass our children play on, pesticides and herbicides seem to be everywhere. They are poisons designed to kill, and unfortunately, are harming more than what they are targeting. Not only do pesticides kill insects, they also kill the good gut bacteria (the microbiome) in our intestinal system that regulates our immune system as a whole, and they kill the bugs by targeting their nervous system. Ingredients in herbicides such as glyphosate target plants by specifically blocking the action of a critical enzyme that plants use to synthesize three amino acids (tyrosinetryptophan, and phenylalanine), which are essential components of all proteins.

Without the ability to synthesize these amino acids, the plants die. Humans ingest these chemicals daily… what could possibly go wrong? For starters, many published studies have proven the relationships between exposure to pesticides/herbicides and the deterioration of human health, including neurological disorders and cancer. And yet, many are still on the market and heavily consumed. To avoid these chemicals, we must eat organic foods and become more mindful of the grass we allow our children to play on.

Plastic Bottles

So many of us walk around drinking out of plastic bottles without realizing how unhealthy this can be. Water bottles, for example, contain phthalates. They are colorless, odorless, oily liquids. Phthalates are especially dangerous because they are linked to asthma and allergies, and they also mimic hormones and can damage the endocrine system. A 2009 study in Korea showed a strong positive association between phthalates metabolites in urine and symptoms of ADHD and other neurological dysfunction.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is another industrial chemical used primarily to make plastic water bottles. Some risks include adverse effects on the endocrine system and potential damage to brain synapses, resulting in an increased risk of depression, memory problems, ADHD and other neurological disorders, asthma, learning issues, aggression, thyroid dysfunction, and cancer. It is especially important not to allow these bottles to be heated, for example, when sitting in a hot car for a prolonged amount of time, these chemicals are known to leach out.

Plastic Garden Hoses

One of my fondest childhood memories is drinking water from the garden hose. We all did it, but was it safe? Unfortunately, PVC hoses often carry a warning that reads, “This product contains chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects and other reproductive harm.” Many hoses are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which uses lead as a stabilizer. Other dangerous materials that are toxic to the human body often found in garden hoses are antimony, organotin, BPA, and Phthalates.

Summer is the season full of fun, action, and smiles. While it’s important to try to enjoy every moment of it, let’s keep our kids safe and healthy this summer by applying the practical advice outlined above.


Learn more about my family’s healing journey (including everything that has worked for me and many of my clients) in my book Healing Without Hurting. And to receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety, and more without medication – SIGN UP HERE

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Awareness

The Science Of Healing Trauma With Plant Medicine – Dr. Jeff McNairy Explains

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Ayahuasca has assisted thousands of people with an array of mental health disorders. There is real science that can explain how this "medicine" is able to actually change the brain.

  • Reflect On:

    Ayahuasca is not for everyone, and it will not fix you. It might, however, show you what you need to see in order to release what is no longer serving you in life and holding you back.

Over the past decade or so, the use of ayahuasca by western cultures has absolutely blown up. Chances are you’ve either taken it yourself or know someone who has. You may have heard some incredible and transformative stories about how this indigenous plant medicine has assisted many of those struggling with depression, addiction, anxiety and many other ailments.

It has been difficult to explain how this plant actually works to help alleviate symptoms of trauma, and many stick to simply regarding it as a mystical experience that shows you whatever it is that you need to see in order to heal your wounds. However, there is a scientific way to explain what is actually happening within the brain and body when ayahuasca is ingested. Some people with a more logical method of receiving information might prefer to know the actual physical “why” as to what is happening. In the video below, Dr. Jeff McNairy explains this.

Dr. Jeff McNairy is part of the Rythmia family, the world’s first fully licensed medical facility that offers ayahuasca. The entire CE team had the opportunity to go back in 2016 and it was a wonderful experience for us all.

Personally, I have processed a lot of my own trauma with the assistance of this potent plant medicine. It was able to show me things that I hadn’t realized had such a profound impact on my life, things that I had simply written off as unimportant. There were many things that I had stuffed down, locked away and refused to look at over the years that ultimately were the cause for my struggle with depression, addictive behaviours and anxiety. With the assistance of ayahuasca, a light shined on these areas that I had locked away in my subconscious, which helped me to see where healing was still required.

Is Ayahuasca For You?

Whether you are drawn to ayahuasca or not is okay, it’s not for everyone. But if you have a serious desire to uncover more layers of who you are and why you are the way you are, and you’re drawn to this medicine, then it may be for you. Ayahuasca can be a great tool for those who have suffered trauma, but it is important to know that ayahuasca won’t fix you, however it can lead you to understand what it is you need to know in order to fix yourself. It has the capacity to show you whatever it is that you are not seeing from a different perspective, opening your eyes to what you may not have been able to see before.

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It is no coincidence that ayahuasca has emerged within westernized cultures around the globe during this important time of transition. Not only is it assisting people to reconnect back to their soul’s essence, but it is also increasing our regard for our environment and our Mother Earth as a whole.

On another note, here’s an interesting quote from Joe Martino:

Psychedelics were used back in a time when the level of consciousness of the planet was not as high, which helped give insight to shamans so they could share it with their communities. It was meant for use in extreme cases where heavy trauma or addictions existed and people could not use other ways to work through their emotional challenges. Here in present time, we use them in a western fashion as THE GO TO for moving through all of our challenges. I’m here to remind you that you have so much power and ability as a being that in most cases, you don’t need any of these things to evolve. I’m not suggesting don’t do it, I’m simply saying truly ask your heart what you want, and don’t get caught up in the grand allure and peer pressure. (source)

Use Responsibly

It is important to seek out and use ayahuasca that is harvested using sustainable practices and served by shamans who have the utmost respect for the sacred medicinal brew. As its popularity has increased, so has the opportunity to exploit it, so do your due diligence when it comes to determining if ayahuasca is right for you and who will be serving you this medicine.

Related CE Article: Why Psychedelic Drugs Are Not A Shortcut To Enlightenment

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Awareness

Some Doctors Claim Babies Should Share Their Mother’s Bed Until The Age Of 3

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study involving 16 infants monitored the babies while they slept in their mother's bed. It's not the only study examining the benefits of close contact between mother and child shortly after birth.

  • Reflect On:

    How much of what we do today in a conventional way, especially with regards to childbirth, is the best way to do it?

When it comes to parenting, everyone seems to have an opinion, and rightfully so, especially if you are yourself a parent. But what about controversial topics? Is there a right or wrong way to raise your children? Are there certain things that you should or should not be doing? Of course, some things are more important than others. But new advice given by a paediatrician suggests children should sleep in bed with their mothers until they reach the age of three. 

Dr. Nils Bergman, from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, argues that for optimal development, healthy newborns should sleep on their mother’s chest for at least their first few weeks. After that, he believes they should stay in bed with mom and dad until they are three or even four years old.

Because there has been a lot of fear propaganda created around the risk of cot death — the notion that a parent might roll over and suffocate their child — co-sleeping is generally not advised, and in fact, a recently published British study found that almost two-thirds of the cases of SIDS occurred when the bed was being shared.

But, according to Dr.Bergman, “When babies are smothered and suffer cot deaths, it is not because their mother is present. It is because of other things: toxic fumes, cigarettes, alcohol, big pillows and dangerous toys.”

A study involving 16 infants monitored the babies while they slept in their mother’s bed. It found that the baby’s heart was under three times as much stress when he or she slept alone. While sleeping in a cot, they had a more disrupted sleep and their brains were less likely to cycle and transition between the two types of sleep, called active and quiet.

In the cots, only 6 of the 16 babies had any quiet sleep at all, and their sleep quality was much worse.

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Dr. Bergman continued to explain how changes to the brain that are brought on by stress hormones can actually make it more difficult to form relationships and close bonds later in life.

Another study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry monitored results from 73 premature infants receiving Kangaroo Care, or skin-to-skin contact with their mothers, and another three premature infants received standard incubator care. The subjects of the study were monitored over a 10-year period, and the results were as follows:

KC increased autonomic functioning (respiratory sinus arrhythmia, RSA) and maternal attachment behavior in the postpartum period, reduced maternal anxiety, and enhanced child cognitive development and executive functions from 6 months to 10 years. By 10 years of age, children receiving KC showed attenuated stress response, improved RSA, organized sleep, and better cognitive control. RSA and maternal behavior were dynamically interrelated over time, leading to improved physiology, executive functions, and mother–child reciprocity at 10 years.

The National Childbirth Trust supports bed sharing provided the parents have not been drinking, smoking, or using drugs, or if they are obese, chronically ill, or suffer from chronic exhaustion, all of which could cause them to roll over onto the baby or otherwise impact their health.

Overall, it’s a very controversial issue. Many swear by bed sharing, and it certainly used to be standard practice before cribs became so common and affordable. There are many upsides to this, but it is also important to be aware of and consider the potential dangers.

We all know babies need to be snuggled and cuddled and given love; they need to feel safe and secure, and how could they possibly feel this all alone in another room in a crib? When you actually think about it, it seems pretty backwards.

Every parent is just doing what they feel is best for their baby, but the opinions of others tend to get in the way. We’ve all heard those comments like, Oh you shouldn’t pick up that baby, you need to let them cry, they are going to have attachment issues, how are they going to develop their independence? Well, they are babies; they can’t care for themselves and they need to be taken care of. It is a natural urge for the mother to take care of her child.

What are your thoughts on this? Did you co-sleep with your child? Did you ever feel it was unsafe? Do you prefer your child to sleep in a crib? Let us know!

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Awareness

Yale Study Reveals 1 in 3 Drugs Have Safety Issues Even After FDA Approval

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted by a team of researchers from Yale University discovered that nearly one in three drugs that the that the FDA tests and approves ends up having safety issues.

  • Reflect On:

    Are prescription drugs as safe as they're marketed to be?

In 2014, Harvard University stated that prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death, yet pharmaceutical companies continue to hide behind their profits and promote their products as safe. Doctors and even their patients are willing to turn a blind eye to many of the adverse side effects of drugs, opting for the “bandaid” effect they provide instead of seeking alternative treatments and preventative methods.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and conducted by a team of researchers from Yale University studied the effectiveness of the FDA’s drug approval process. The team discovered that nearly one in three drugs that the FDA tests and approves ends up having safety issues.

Research Finds Serious Issues With FDA Drug Approval Process

In order to establish whether or not pharmaceutical drugs are safe for consumers, the FDA implements drug testing and clinical trials. These trials typically test fewer than 1,000 patients over a short timeframe, usually around six months or less. The Yale researchers suggested that safety issues could only truly be detected if more patients were studied over a longer period of time, speaking to the ineffectiveness of the FDA’s testing.

To identify how to effectively determine any safety issues with pharmaceutical drugs, the Yale researchers studied data on new drugs approved between 2001 and 2010, with follow up through 2017. Their findings proved that approximately 32% of new drugs approved by the FDA had notable safety issues.

A shocking 71 of the 222 drugs approved within this timeframe were withdrawn, had a “black box” warning regarding the side effects, or required a safety announcement to the public about newfound risks. This begs the question: Why are these drugs being approved in the first place if they warrant so many safety concerns?

“That is very rarely a drug withdrawal, but more commonly a black box warning, or drug safety communication issued by the FDA to let physicians and patients know that new safety information has been determined,” explained Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health Dr. Joseph Ross, who led the research team.

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The researchers also specified characteristics of pharmaceuticals that were more likely to pose a higher risk of safety issues to patients, including biologic therapies and drugs that were approved through the FDA’s accelerated approval pathway. The accelerated approval process often uses surrogate endpoints, which means that the researchers measured a factor other than survival, such as tumour size, to figure out whether the drugs should be approved.

“This [finding on surrogate endpoints] has the greatest relationship to policy today,” Ross further elaborated. “In the 21st Century Cures Act, there’s a push to have the FDA move to further support the use of surrogate markers … [but] they’re more likely to have concerns in the post-market setting.”

“While the administration pushes for less regulation and faster approvals, those decisions have consequences,” Ross stated. The Yale team’s previous studies exposed that the FDA approval process for drugs is much faster than that of other government organizations in Europe, which is interesting given the nature of the business in both countries. Prices of drugs are far higher in America than they are abroad, and Americans take a lot more drugs, meaning U.S. pharmaceutical companies make a lot more money.

The timing of this study is interesting too, as the FDA has been facing increased pressure lately to quicken the drug approval process. “It shows that there is the potential for compromising patient safety when drug evaluation is persistently sped up,” said Ross. “At the very least, the study should inform ongoing debate about premarket drug evaluation,” the researchers concluded.

Dr. Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, weighed in on the study, commending the researchers for their work. “It’s important to keep in mind that the post-approval safety issues cover the spectrum from relatively minor to serious,” Alexander said.

“A good next step would be to dig into the extremely serious safety problems, determine whether the FDA could have flagged them sooner and how they might have been missed,” he continued.

“All too often, patients and clinicians mistakenly view FDA approval as [an] indication that a product is fully safe and effective,” Alexander explained. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We learn tremendous amounts about a product only once it’s on the market and only after use among a broad population.”

Dr. Alexander makes a great point: Just because a drug is approved by the FDA, doesn’t mean it’s safe. In an ideal world, FDA approval would mean that the drug is entirely safe to use, but the reality is that the testing is not extensive enough to even determine the safety of the drug, let alone guarantee it.

Far too often, people place their doctors and health care practitioners on pedestals and fail to conduct their own research. Though I am not qualified to professionally advise anyone on their health, I certainly do not trust everything that my doctor recommends, which is largely because no doctor knows everything there is to know about health. It’s up to you to figure out your own health, not your doctor.

Though doctors can provide wonderful advice and can help immensely when diagnosing and treating illnesses, they can also drastically hinder your health. However, that’s not necessarily their fault, it’s often yours. The onus is on you to conduct your own research, get multiple professional opinions if need be, and ensure you are making informed decisions.

Further Proof of Misconduct at the FDA

In journalism, embargo refers to a “back-room deal” in which journalists and their sources agree not to publish an article prior to a specific date or time. The FDA goes one step further by implementing a “closely held embargo,” which gifts the organization complete control over all new FDA information privy to exposure for the American public.

The FDA’s use of the “close embargo” reveals that the institution likely wants to prevent reporters from leaking information. The biggest concern seems to be that, when officials begin giving the go-ahead for this special access, it makes it much easier for the agency to prevent stories they don’t like from being exposed.

The FDA hinders the public’s right to know about scientific fraud and misconduct as well. In an article for Slate wrote:

For more than a decade, the FDA has shown a pattern of burying the details of misconduct. As a result, nobody ever finds out which data is bogus, which experiments are tainted, and which drugs might be on the market under false pretenses. The FDA has repeatedly hidden evidence of scientific fraud not just from the public, but also from its most trusted scientific advisers, even as they were deciding whether or not a new drug should be allowed on the market. Even a congressional panel investigating a case of fraud regarding a dangerous drug couldn’t get forthright answers. For an agency devoted to protecting the public from bogus medical science, the FDA seems to be spending an awful lot of effort protecting the perpetrators of bogus science from the public.

You can read more about that in the following CE article:

FOIA Investigation Unearths Documents Showing How The FDA  Manipulates Media & Science Press

The FDA also works hand-in-hand with pharmaceutical companies, which you can read about in the following CE article:

Merck & The FDA Caught ‘Fast Tracking’ The Approval Of HPV Gardasil Vaccine Without Scientific Approval

To make matters worse, pharmaceutical companies also hold close ties to doctors, which you can learn about here:

This Website Tells You How Much Big Pharma Pays Your Doctor To Prescribe Drugs

To be clear, 128,000 people die every year in the U.S. from drugs prescribed to them, which is being done under the approval of the FDA and doctors. The reality is, drug companies make a lot of money from selling prescriptions, and so do those involved with them, including doctors.

At the end of the day, the medical industry is a booming business, one that thrives off sick people. These companies actually benefit when their drugs cause adverse effects, because they then have additional reasons to sell you even more drugs. The system is designed to help you in one way, and then disadvantage you in another. In essence, they want you healthy, but not too healthy, and until we educate ourselves and take control of our health, we will continue to perpetuate this cycle.

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