Filthy Fluoride

Water-supply1

I’m sorry, I just feel like I’ve been taken for an absolute fool these past few years- probably because I have been a fool.

I never used to stop to ask what was added to my water, if my shampoo was doing anything else to my scalp rather then just cleaning it, if my tampons were safe, if the pesticides being sprayed on my veggies had any dodgie side effects, if antibiotics given to cows could end up in the milk I drink. Now I do, and my brain just won’t stop asking questions and looking for replacements.

Once you start scratching the surface and actually look at the items you’re using on a daily basis all hell breaks loose. You start seeing that at some point in the last 50 years someone decided our health and well being is big business and every tactic, marketing ploy, corner cutting, money saving scheme is fair game. Nothing is what is seems.

… OK, rant over (sigh of relief from anyone still reading!) I just needed to get that off my chest!

Anyway, before the red mist came down I was about to talk some more about water. As mentioned previously I’m trying to steer clear of plastic water bottles due to the unwelcome side effect of BPA’s (more on that here). I’ve bought myself a lovely BPA free water bottle and everything was going fine until I heard about fluoride (this is where the angry ‘red mist’ came from).

Basically since 1964 the Irish Government took it on themselves to save our little Irish teeth by pumping a chemical called fluoride into our tap water. I don’t doubt that they did this in good faith at the time. However since then the case against this practice has mounted with studies suggesting links between excess fluoride and the following:

  • Some cancers
  • Osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Down syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, headaches, depression, eczema and many more.

Due to all the evidence today almost all developed countries have outlawed the practice of adding Fluoride to their drinking water and now Ireland is one of only 8 developed countries, WORLD WIDE, to be still adding Fluoride to tap water!! Crazy right?!

If you’re interested in helping the fight against fluoridation here’s some levels of activity:

Level 1 (Zero effort required) – Like Irish group ‘The Girl Against Fluoride’ (TGAF) on Facebook to increase your awareness

Level 2 (Little bit of effort required) – Sign some petitions to stop fluoridation in Ireland- here and here

Level 3 (Fairly high effort needed) – I’ve no doubt fluoridation is going to be a hot topic as 2014 rolls in and we’re expected to start paying for this toxic water. So start talking to friends and family now about the harmful effects it’s having on our water supply and maybe, just maybe, if enough of us are complaining someone up there might listen.

TGAF

In the mean time, what can we do to help ourselves, and reduce the levels of fluoride we are exposed to?

I was in touch with TGAF for their suggestions on how to combat this chemical and here’s a summary of what one of the team, Shane, told me…

The best way of completely removing fluoride from the water is to use Reverse Osmosis (RO) filters on our taps. This can be either bought or rented, depending on your fundage situation:

Buying: Renewell Water Ltd

  • This is a small one man operation who TGAF have now teamed up. He offers the RO system at a discounted prices of €399 (and will also make a €50 donation to the campaign for each filter that is sold).

Renting: The Water Treatment Centre

  • They offer the RO system as a rental for an installation cost of €50 and a weekly rental of €3.99 (which turns out to be just over €250 for the year).

EL cheapo option: Good old Lidl and Aldi!

  • A 3rd option in these ‘tough economic times’ is to scrap RO and our worries about BPA plastic and just go for Glen Carrick bottled water from Lidl, or Comeragh Spring Water from Aldi. TGAF  tells me this bottled water is both low in fluoride and high in calcium- the calcium acts as a buffer for the fluoride ion thus enabling the body to excrete this naturally occurring fluoride (5litre bottle costs €1.20)

I’m planning on investing in a rented fluoride filter and I’ll let you know how we get on!

September: A month for a fresh start

Boy, oh boy, did I have a good summer- friends weddings, mini city breaks, a week-long holiday in Italy, lots of wine and bread, dinners, nights out and lots and lots of sugar, salt and delicious toxins!

photo (19)

As much as I’ve loved the summer and all the indulgence, it’s left me feeling a bit ‘off’. My skin is back looking rubbish, my energy levels are bottoming out again- I long to be back in bed most days, my brain fog is creeping back, my mood is also defiantly darker and my old tumtum is playing up a fair bit.

I’ve always loved September, for me it brings with it a sense of ‘fresh starts’ – more so than January does. I associate January with being broke, cold and depressed while September for me is the time of new books, shiny new shoes, hikes on crunchy Autumn leaves, hearty meals, routine and new habits. In fact it was this time last year that I first decided to stop just ‘investigating’ wellness and holistic health and actually start living it.

(Basically, last September, after a particularly fun night out with friends I decided to walk the whole way home, a 30 minute walk,  at 2:30 AM, down quiet, deserted streets, all alone –  just so I could get cheese and garlic chips from my local chipper. I know, I know, so dangerous, such a flippen eejit.

I woke up the next morning, with a horrible hangover, eye make up everywhere, the remains of the chips on the coffee table and I decided I had had enough. I decided then and there I didn’t want to be ‘that’ girl no more and gingerly set out to become the person I wanted to be).

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So, on this note I’ve decided that this September is again going to be my wellness ‘fresh start’. I’m going to go back to:

  • Drinking lemon and hot water each morning
  • Reducing my coffee intake to 1 skinny latté every other day
  • Doing a big veggie/ fruit shop each week so I’m more prepared for the week ahead
  • Eating at least 5 different fruits/ veg a day
  • Dry body brush before my shower everyday (not just at the weekends!)
  • Drinking 2 liters of filtered water a day (…must buy a filter!)
  • Get my body moving for at least 20 minutes every day– more yoga, get out and start walking in my lunch break, using our new gym.
  • Meditate more often (perhaps I’ll start a meditation class?)
  • Consciously work on silencing my ‘ego’ or ‘negative DJ’- she’s getting awfully loud and agressive lately
  • Reduce my reliance on cheese and bread and actively seek out and make new alternatives
  • Drinking either a juice or smoothie everyday
  • Cut out all beer and cocktails, they seem to be making an unwelcome return
  • Reduce my reliance on Facebook and Daily Mail… those bloody sites will be the death of me!!
  • Replace all my supplements which have long run out
  • Buy a vegan cook book and become more confident with vegan recipes
  • Take more time to Skype all my BFF’s living in far off places- I always feel 100% times more connected and grounded after a good old natter!

Yup, I think that is enough to keep me going! Here’s to feeling back fit and healthy by Christmas!

I Quit Sugar (for a month)

sugarlips

There’s so much I want to say about this that I could type for hours, but I know you don’t want to read for hours so I’m going to keep it short and sweet (for want of a different word).

A normal day for me used to look like this:

Morning: Lemon and hot water, Porridge with full fat milk, 1 banana, honey and either chia seeds or linseed

Lunch: A salad left over from last night with cheese and some bread

Afternoon snack: A Jaffa Cake or two (my office is obsessed with them for some reason)/ A handful of homemade Trail Mix

When I get in from work: Green smoothie

Dinner: Some vegetarian and cheese based meal

TV Snack: Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and maybe a glass of Red wine

The truly shocking thing is that all of this adds up to about 30 teaspoons of sugar a day and the thing is is we aren’t designed to consume as much as we do. The correct daily intake of sugar we should in fact be consuming is only 6 teaspoons of sugar a day.

I had no idea I was consuming this much but then you see it turns out that sugar doesn’t only come from a chocolate bar or a bag of Haribo… Glucose (carbs), fructose (fruit) and lactose (dairy) = Sugar

As Sarah Wilson discusses in her book, ‘I Quit Sugar’, the problem with sugar is 2 fold

Problemo #1: Fructose is a sneaky mo’ fo’…

Sugar makes us eat more.  Every other food we digest has a corresponding appetite hormone that registers the food in our bellies which results in us saying, ‘Jayzuz, I’m stuffed’, (or something a little more lady like!), but not sugar. As we all know we can gorge on sugary foods without feeling full (maybe sick but far from full)

And the thing is that the Coca Colas, Red Bulls, Mars and Nestles of this world know this fact.

They say their products should only be consumed in ‘moderation’ knowing full well that they have been designed to hit our ‘bliss point’- a point at which the product tastes sweet, but not so sweet that we can’t keep eating them- and cause us to over indulge.

It has been scientifically proven that we can’t consume these sugary foods in moderation. These ‘foods’ do something to our saliva glands that make them juice at the sight of them, they do something to our brains and taste buds that crave them when we see them advertised, they do something to our stomachs that make them gurgle when we see them for sale in the newsagents. Once you have a bite you’re hooked and want more.

Problemo #2: Sugar messes with our delicate hormones

Each consumption of sugar messes with our blood sugar levels, it sends them soaring high and then crashing low. When they’re up the hormone insulin has to kick in and regulate it and when it’s down the stress hormone Cortisol has to help out. Here are the effects this can have on our bodies if this happens a couple of times a day:

Insulin side effects: increased body fat, reduction in our bodies ability to burn fat, reduction in lean muscle, increase in inflammation, reduced energy, effects our mood, increased brain fog, increased oestrogen (which is a whole other story…)

Cortisol side effects: Digestive problems, inflammations, inability to repair, lower immune.

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April’s Challenge:

Give Up- Sugar

So that’s why I gave up Sugar (and all it’s little friends, including fructose) for April, I went Cold Turkey.

I  followed Sarah Wilson’s book, this is an 8 week process but as the first two weeks are a warm up and the last week is a warm down I squished it into a 5 week process.

I coupled this with 100 squats a day as this is great at producing the growth hormone which is a natural way to stabilise our Blood Sugar and counteract the negative effects of insulin (more on that here)

Verdict

This month was a total eye opener for me and the effects have only really been felt since the month’s experiment was finished. I think my taste buds have changed (matured?) and I can no longer eat desert or even fruity smoothies as I find them too sweet and they give me a physical pain in my gums.  I also lost weight (the weight put on when I attempted to be a vegetarian and a little bit more). I also noticed my PMS and general lady time wasn’t as rough as once was.

Since then I have reintroduced fruit, honey and some sugary treats into my diet but I am largely trying to follow this lifestyle each day as it makes me feel so good.

So, do you think you can/want to try it? If so here’s a few resources to sink your teeth into:

A short 15 minute video

Some blog posts:

Some books:

  • Sarah Wilson, ‘I Quit Sugar’
  • Mark Moss, ‘Salt, Sugar, Fat’
  • David Gillspie, ‘Sweet Poison’

A piece of info I just have to leave you with: A glass of apple juice contains as much sugar as a glass of Coke… 10/ 12 teaspoons. I’m sorry but it’s true.

GM Noooo!

GM)1

I interrupt this normally happy Wellness Cloud for some disturbing news…

I may be a little late getting to the GM-hating party but I’m here now and I’m eyes-popping-out-of-my-head shocked by what I’ve been hearing/ reading.

What’s all this fuss about?

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) where launched in the late 1990’s and are experimental crops and animal feed that have been genetically engineered in a lab to “improve” the product, i.e. make it grow faster or bigger, produce its own pesticides or become more resistant to drought- basically make it more profitable.

Many genetically engineered foods contain the Bt toxin and according to Jeffery Smith (a world authority on the dangers of GMO’s) although this may help line the agriculture industries pockets, it’s not been so nice to the consumer. People who have removed GMO’s and this Bt toxin from their diet have described improvements from a variety of diseases and disorders including:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Allergic reactions
  • Immune system problems
  • Fertility issues
  • Organ damage
  • Mental issues: including autism, anxiety and even depression

Consumption of GM food have also been linked to birth defects, infant mortality and certain cancers.

But we’re protected against GMO’s in Ireland right?!

We’re lucky to be living in Ireland and still be part of the EU I’ll grant you that. The EU have the most stringent regulations in place against GMO crops and modified medicinal products.

Side note: 90% of GM crops are grown in the US, Canada and Argentina and a whopping 80% of all processed foods in the US contain GMO’s.

However there is good and bad news.

The Good News 🙂

Growing GM Crops:  The EU have only authorised 1 GM variety (Monsanto’s MON810) and only 0.05% of EU land is cultivated with it and therefore Ireland is a GMO crop free country.

Labelling Imported GM Foods:  All processed food or animal feed made with GMO crops that contains 0.9% or more GMOs must be labelled as such to alert the consumer. This is unlike the US, where no food containing GMO’s currently needs to be labelled.

The Bad News 😦

Animal FeedI’m sorry to say that most Irish beef, lamb, pork, and dairy produce is made from livestock fed on GM food, and, as we all know, if they eat it, your eating it. The really upsetting part of this is that according to the 2003 EC regulation, products such as meat, milk or eggs obtained from animals fed with GM feed or treated with GM medical products do not require labelling. So if your eating meat or eggs or drinking a glass of milk right now there’s a high likelihood that the animal it came from was pumped up on GM feed and medicine.

GMO

I bet your thinking:

‘Ahh no, sure we have the FSAI (Food Safety Authority of Ireland) monitoring this stuff! They wouldn’t allow GM animal feed if it wasn’t safe!’

Not the case my good people. These committees have been infiltrated and compromised by the GM biotech industry (I realise that line sounds like something from a Matt Damon movie but even a small bit of detective work shows this is in fact correct!). Dr. John O’Brien is the CEO of the FSAI and is a former director of a GM company! I’m not making this stuff up people- go and have a Google!

So what can I do?

  1. Read the ingredients! This is key. As I mentioned, any processed food made with 0.09% GM foods needs to be labelled with: ‘This product contains genetically modified organisms’
  2. Either revaluate how much meat and dairy you consume/ feed to your kiddies, perhaps introduce Meatless Mondays? Or else buy organic meat and eggs.
  3. Support restaurants, pubs and shops which promote an GMO Free ethos. A list of them can be found here
  4. Get involved with the activities of GM-Free Ireland
  5. Get educated: Read ‘The Seeds of Deception’/ watch ‘Genetic Roulette’

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