Category Archives: Detox News

Diesel Deception – Is Dieselgate The Door To a Cleaner Future?

The revelation that VW, the carmaker, has been cheating environmental standards is slowly working its way through official circles, clean air campaigning groups and the public.

Labelled #Dieselgate by the media it promises to have enormous consequences for VW and for diesel cars generally.

The deception was found and published by West Virginia University although it seems that authorities on both sides of the Atlantic were aware of the problem and had been for several months.

The Problem In A Nutshell

Diesel engines work at higher temperatures than petrol aka gasoline engines and for that reason there is the possibility that they could burn fuel more cleanly and more completely. For that to happen they need to have the right fuel to take advantage and to pump smaller amounts of particulates, CO2 and NOX into the exhaust.

In Britain and the EU a political decision was taken about 15 years ago to promote the sale of diesel cars which up to that time were rarely bought by the consumer.

We were sold the lie that diesel was clean, in fact VW even poke fun at people thinking that diesel was dirty.

Video here

In the years since then diesel growth was so massive that most sales in the UK are now diesel so they outsell regular gasoline / petrol cars.

The air quality has suffered as you would expect. It has been a long running scandal that air quality in London and other major European cities has been so drastically bad.

It beggars belief that the real cause of this was not known to a lot of engineers and regulators.

Until West Virginia Uni published their report.

Not Just VW

The consequences of this debacle will be very serious for VW as a company. They have put aside several billion dollars and expect to add to that sum. VW also make Audi, SEAT, Skoda as well as several luxury brands like Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti.

VW will probably survive – albeit with less capital and maybe fewer brands but how about VW diesel?

The management of VW seem to have been asleep at the wheel. We do not know yet if this disaster was due to a small number of software engineers or whether there was supervisory or management involvement.

Does VW have the will, the initiative or the vision to do what they need – to focus on Electric vehicles and clean up the environment with determination?

When Elon Musk was asked his view of #Dieselgate

Video here

It is unlikely that VW will drop all diesel production and focus on gasoline (petrol) cars and electric – I don’t think they have the guts or the vision but Joe Public is not limited by those considerations.

The public realisation that diesel and gas cars cannot be clean, cannot be green is growing fast. Battery power is growing fast too and electric cars are well out if their novelty stage.

The first mass car manufacturer to roll out large numbers of electric cars will trigger a stampede by all the major brands. All have well designed electric cars waiting for launch and are hanging back like shy teens at a dance.

Elon Musk has the boldness of vision but is a comparatively small niche brand. #Dieselgate may initiate the beginning of the conversion of a clean and green mass car industry.

This will clean the environment up significantly and make our job o detoxing our bodies easier. We have a lot to thank West Virginia University for!

Bisphenol A and How You Can Limit Its Health Risks

Bisphenol A often called BPA is a widely discussed chemical that has been causing concern and even alarm since the 1990s. The worries focus on the ability of the BPA molecule to trigger hormone pathways in the body.

So the popular press has used the word, “gender bender” to describe some of the effects of BPA and the scientific press describes it as an “Endocrine disruptor” and of materials with BPA having “EA” – that is of having “Endocrine activity”.

What all this boils down to is that BPA mimics both the structure and function of estrodiol which is a hormone of crucial importance to both men and women.

If estrodiol levels in your blood are too high then you are at increased risk for atherosclerosis and stroke so chemicals in the body that can mimic estrodiol are deeply unwelcome because they can pose a serious health risk.

In addition the widespread presence of BPA may be responsible for the widely noticed drop in sperm count that has been seen all round the world.

The Frustration of Infertility

Infertility is a growing problem and leads to so much sorrow and disappointment.

Studies have also shown that over 90% of us have BPA present in our urine and even that new-born babies have measurable levels. This latter concern shows why Governments around the world have banned BPA from baby bottles even though they have continued to allow the chemical industry to use bisphenols for many other applications and products.

There are many varieties of the bisphenol molecule. We discuss BPA but this page http://is.gd/tiHdxC on the Wiki shows variations such as bisphenol B, C, E, F, G…all the way to Bisphenol Z!

The reason I mention all these kinds of bisphenol is that some manufacturers are marking their products “BPA free”.

And some of these products have Bisphenol S, also written as BPS, which like BPA is an endocrine disruptor and may be even worse for our health than Bisphenol A is.

Can you imagine people buying products labelled BPA free in the hope of protecting their families not having an inkling of other dangers lurking in the product?

Another example of how widespread this issue of chemical pollution by bisphenol is that BPS has been found in paper currencies of 21 countries around the world as well as in kitchen and toilet paper!

So this is not just about plastic in the kitchen, it is much wider. BPA is found in the inner lining of some Beer cans and food cans; it is found in the small receipts printed by thermal printers inside automated tills and it is in food containers and in the clear tough polycarbonate bowls and parts of juicers.

Action Steps To Reduce Bisphenol In Your Life

So what do we do?

In the modern world it is somewhere between hard and impossible to avoid all plastics so we need to follow a practical path based on likely risk.

1. Babies and children are at most risk so we prioritise the materials their possessions are made of. BPA free just does not cut it because we do not know what the materials do have!
2. Studies in which people avoided canned food and packaged food showed that the BPA levels in the blood drop dramatically when people eat at home and cook from scratch.
3. Swap material where you can. Use Pyrex rather plastic bowls and glass and not plastic food containers
4. Do not heat food in plastic containers
5. If you have a juicer or smoothie maker keep using it. The juice you are making is only in contact with the plastic for a few seconds.
6. Wash your hands after handling paper money and till receipts and check out the paper towels you may use.
7. Lobby your political leaders. People power works!

Any other points not in the list or any question you may have, please drop them in the comment section below! Thanks!

Get Happy With Recycling Textiles

happyRecycling textiles sounds quaint, unlike recycling electronics which sounds obvious – all those precious metals that can be used again and many toxic substances which we don't want in landfill where they can pollute the water table and outgas greenhouse gases.

Turns out that the same considerations come up for textiles too. After all textiles will generally decompose and the bacteria that find their way into the material may well generate Methane which is a very potent greenhouse gas.

So we need to recycle materials; this can be clothing, curtains, fabric of all kinds that we might automatically or rather unconsciously, dump in our black bin – the “sin bin” that goes to landfill.

My local recycling arrangements changed recently so that we can dispose of textiles in our recycling or Green Bin, so it's easy to do. No more trekking off to a special recycling centre miles away at a cost of time and effort.

Here's some encouragement. A store in Atlanta is using a cover of Happy by Pharrell Williams in a very creative way, have a listen…and join in the recycling even if you don't sing or dance along with the music!

credit for photo Joe Shlabotnik

 

Air Pollution and Our Health – What Can We Do?

Los Angeles at DawnI have been breathing polluted air and reading about air pollution all my life. And of course old news is no news at all. This post is not so much about the facts of air pollution or its causes but about what we can do about it.

Setting the scene – I want you to imagine being in London in the 1950s. The smogs that cloaked the city were so thick that we could not see more than a few inches ahead of us at a time.

We don’t have that level of pollution now. Looking at a Los Angeles skyline – it looks and feels bad but is not killing the huge numbers on a daily basis that the 1950s smogs did.

Or are they?

The smogs of the last century were from dirty coal and worked directly to irritate and inflame the lungs. It was particularly bad for babies and the elderly and anyone else with compromised lung function.

Nowadays the fuel that pollutes our cities and our lungs and sinuses is different. Added to that we have a whole slew of chemical pollutants that are new and found in the air and in our food.

New chemicals should in a logical world be tested and certified for safety before general release into the environment.

Obvious eh?

Equally obvious is that we live in a world dominated by commercial interest and not by logic or health concerns – or even due process.

Given then that we have many novel chemical agents designed to protect us against fire, to chemically clean our floors, help gasoline burn better and a thousand other “good causes” and that we are breathing all this – what can we do?

We cannot control the pollution that is dumped in the air – our air- daily apart of course by political activism and by all means do what you can on that front.

But we can control whether we smoke or spend time with someone who does and we can control the food we choose to eat and what we drink.

And, to some extent we can control the pollution that we breathe too. So let’s look at these one by one.

Smoking Tobacco

Smoking was recommended in the 1930s by Doctors for, “Health Reasons”! This is a wonderful example of why we should never take heed of advice from Doctors or governments.

Of course what breathing the smoke from burning leaves or fuel really does is to fill our bloodstream with inflammatory free radical which are volatile molecules that damage every tissue they come in contact with.

It is not just the lungs that suffer but arteries and organs all round the body – such as the stomach and the brain.

How to give up smoking? First pay attention to the diet and improve that then cut the number of cigarettes and start using nicotine patches. Keep improving the diet and with the help of a professional health care expert and smoking can be left behind.

In the meantime 1 gram a day vitamin C can help the body deal with the effects and damage made by the smoke.

Our Food

Some food of course is smoked! I have always found that amusing – as if smoking is not bad enough already we have to choose to eat food that is smoked already!

Food that is burnt, overcooked in any way whether by being roasted too long or cooked at a temperature that is too high will have similar effects to breathing smoke – a wave of inflammatory chemicals will flood the bloodstream and damage all they come into contact with.

I am not recommending that we stop eating cooked food but that we stop eating overcooked food!

Avoiding any food that contributes to inflammation is a major step forward for our health. This means that our diet needs to be “anti-inflammatory”.

In research terms the phrase “plant based diet” keeps cropping up; this is the diet that all the major research projects over the last 50 years have shown to be the best for our health and the simplest description of what a healthy diet is.

Bluntly – all meat, fish and eggs contribute to inflammation in the body and some would add dairy products to the list too.

A plant based diet then is a healthy and wholefood version of a vegan diet and is promoted by experts such as Drs John McDougall, Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn.

If you follow a diet as clean as this you will notice a gentle detox going on right through your body and several health complaints you have had for years will just melt away.

But even reducing the consumption of meat will yield benefits; it is not all or nothing!

Our Home Environment

Many of us who endure long commutes would love to spend more time at home but there are pollution problems not just on the way to and from work but in the home as well.

The air in our homes starts being as mucky and polluted as the air outside and then we add a slew of our own pollution to the air and that makes it the unhealthiest place to be!

But we have choice over which products we buy. We probably did not realise that all the chemical sprays and cleaners we buy for cleaning the kitchen and the bathroom will contribute to the formation of a chemical smog throughout our home that we are breathing night and day.

Now we know we can throw them out. Most personal products have dubious chemicals in them – unless you have shopped very carefully and consciously to avoid them.

Well our household cleaning still has to be so whet do we use? As odd as it sounds a combination of Baking soda and white vinegar can clean almost any surface in the home without leaving any nasty traces of volatile and damaging chemicals behind too.

Healthy alternatives are available but a slight caution don’t think that all the products you see in “Health” or “Wholefood” type of stores will automatically be safe!

Experience of label reading and speaking to manufacturers informs me otherwise. There’s no substitute for being a savvy shopper.

The Air in our Homes

Once you have done a clean sweep of your cupboards and thrown out all you can you may want to go further – and get an air filter.

A high quality air filter does not have to cost a lot – although of course the very best will cost more. But lots of vacuum cleaners and even some cars have HEPA filters which will substantially cut down the particles and even viruses circulating in the air we breathe at home.

I will do a review of the best HEPA air purifiers for the home but for now there’s a starter HEPA air filter in the Honeywell HHT-011 and a more advanced Honeywell here and a Winix WAC5500 here .

Please feel free to ask questions and share your experience below – and share this post on social media too! Thanks

Photo Credit LA at dawn

Air Pollution and Disease: Can Air Filters Help?

air pollution from factory chimneyPollution is not just ugly and smelly; It is a serious health issue too. And it is not just about causing and exacerbating lung disease and sinus problems, but much more seriously there is now evidence that air pollution is a powerful factor in the causation of ADHD, autism and infertility.

We got to see just how serious air pollution could be back in the 1950s in smoggy old London. The smog was caused by the smoke from sulphur rich coal that was used in British fireplaces. The clean air act cleared the air and saved goodness knows how many lives too.

The change to burning a different type of coal and to using gas fires certainly did clear the air, but our pollution problems may actually have got worse since then.

Industry has moved on and is producing thousands of new chemical based products, many of them producing invisible vapours, which because we cannot see them seem to be innocent and inoffensive.

Modern pollutants appear as phthalates (silent “p”), plasticizers, Organophosphates, Bisphenol A and solvents. Even the names of these give me “the creeps!” and they will appear in future posts.

To tell whether or not our homes are safe now we need modern technology that can “sniff” the air in our home to check to see if it is safe and this technology is very expensive and complex to use and to interpret.

And it is not just these chemical vapours produced in our homes from the paint work, curtains and carpets that we and our family are breathing in but we are also breathing the pollution produced outside the home – emitted by vehicles and chimneys – all this spreads inside the home and cannot be kept outside.

No matter how clean you keep your home the burden of external air pollution cannot be avoided and can only be dealt with by a high quality air filter.

Air Filters For Every Use

There are various types of air filter. Yes they all filter out dust and pollution from the air but they do so with a level of thoroughness and deficiency depending on the technology they use and their price!

A basic filter will trap dust particles and remove them from being recirculated by the heating and ventilation systems again and again.

Particles come in different sizes and all filters will be able to deal with large particles and probably not be able to deal with the very small particles called “particulates”.

High efficiency filters are called HEPA filters, which stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and filter out even the tiny particles 1/3 of a micron in size.

Such HEPA filters can be built into vacuum cleaners and even high end cars and aircraft but are commonly used in portable standalone home appliances used in homes where someone has asthma or allergies to reduce the load of allergens that they breathe in.

The air filter mentioned in the video above has an extra unit to filter vapours from fragrances and volatile chemicals.

To read more about the IQAir® Filter go here and if you know of a retailer selling this at a lower cost please let me know and I can share the news right here. Thanks!

Photo Credit Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

 

How Vitamin F Cured Scaly Skin and a Lot More | ABCs of Vitamins

One of the biggest breakthroughs ever made in nutritional research occurred in 1923 when vitamin F was discovered.vitamin F graphic

Studies of groups of animals fed on experimental diets were going on and it was soon found that lacking this essential vitamin lead the poor animals used in these early experiments to quickly develop skin sores and lesions which were quite different from those caused by other vitamin deficiencies.

In fact the diet had vitamins A, B and D added to make sure that all necessary nutrients were in the diet but in spite of that the animals were losing their health and eventually dying.

Why?

Here is a short quote from the original research, “By the present work the authors have shown that if the young animal is subjected to a complete fat starvation over a period of several months, it develops a disease and soon dies.”

Why were they dying?

“When they were autopsied, the Burrs noted that the animals’ kidneys and urinary tracts bore significant signs of damage. ” http://is.gd/hoRy4w

Clearly something dramatic was going on – something essential to health and life was missing from the diet the animals were being fed…

And then the researchers – the husband and wife team, George and Mildred Burr asked the question, whether a special type of fatty acid is required by the animal which it is unable to synthesize from the diet consumed are unanswered questions.  http://is.gd/hoRy4w

This was the discovery of vitamin F; it was the dawning of a new era in Nutritional understanding and research in which for the first time the positive role of fats in our diet was appreciated and vitamin F was found to be 2 fats – later called omega 3 and omega 6.

Without these fats we sicken and die.

Nowadays we call omega 3 and omega 6 oils EFAs, that is “Essential Fatty Acids” and only rarely use the original name of Vitamin F and although we now know a lot about them we still know that foods containing them must be in our meals or our health will suffer

Choosing the “low fat” or “fat free” diet options may be very bad decisions indeed!

The new research horizons revealed that vitamin F consisted of omega 3 oils based on linolenic acid and omega 6 oils based on linoleic acid where the “lin” part of each name is from linseeds which contain both omega 3 and 6 oils.

The most well known of these is Omega 3 so let's start there.

Omega 3 Oil

Linseeds also called flax seeds have been used as food and for fibre since Babylonian times around 5000 BC. The seeds can be powdered and included in many types of meals – mixed into breakfast cereals, mashed vegetables or smoothies. The seeds and powder can even be baked into bread without any reduction in their health benefits, so it is very easy to get a daily dose of flax / linseed.

The major health benefit is its powerful anti-inflammatory effects which work in different ways to the actions of anti-inflammatory vitamins such as vitamin C.

This allows flax to play a major role in a healthy diet because most chronic disease is inflammatory in nature – including arthritis, diabetes, MS, heart disease and cancer.

When flax seeds are pressed flax oil / linseed oil is produced and that can be used as a salad oil but not to fry with because its delicate structure is damaged by the temperature reached in frying. In addition commercially available flax oil is seldom distributed chilled and I simply do not trust that flax oil is fresh and high enough quality to use.

Nowadays I only use and only advise powdered flax seeds. They not only keep fresh for several months but has a high content of lignans in addition to the omega 3 oil content.

What Are Lignans?

They are anti-oxidants and are similar to the healthy chemicals in tea. They are a major source of phyto-oestrogens / phyto-estrogens which protect us from environmental “Gender bending” chemicals.

And since there is a lot of scaremongering and confusion on the internet about phytoestrogens let's take a minute to clear out the nonsense.

Plant estrogens are very much weaker than the hormones we make in the body ourselves. Both males and females make and use so called male and female hormones – just in differing amounts.

We are all exposed to cancer causing toxins in the environment and we all need the protection that plant estrogens can give us. How they work is to plug into the places in our system which a toxin could find its way into.
So they deny toxins an opportunity to work and since the plant estrogens themselves are hundreds of time weaker than our own hormones they do not cause the same effect themselves.

They deny access to toxins – that is all they do. They are a superb health insurance policy and one we can all male and female, subscribe to daily by eating foods and herbs with plant estrogen content.

Such as flax and soya and red clover!

Omega 6 Oil

This is the other part of “Vitamin F” so it essential for our health. Just as omega 3 foods like Flax help power anti-inflammatory processes in the body omega 6 helps power inflammation itself.

This may seem odd or even crazy because all the major diseases have inflammation as a central feature but inflammation itself is an essential part of the defence system of the immune system and we must be able to respond to parasites with our inflammatory resources.

It is a matter of degree!

In the physical and social environment we have created and especially in our food chain we use a lot more omega 6 fats than omega 3 and alhtough we need both, in practise we need to be vigilant that we get our daily dose of omega 3 foods and we can effectiely ignore omega 6!

Why?

Because it is everywhere. Omega 6 oils pop up in corn oil, sunflower and safflower and thousands of foods with these ingredients.

Just eat flax and green leafy vegetables and walnuts and you are covered!

Last Words on the Omega Oils

As it happened vitamin F turned out to be a discovery of how important it is to get small amounts of special types of oils in our diet. In the average diet nowadays we get a massive oversupply of omega 6 oils and far too little omega 3 oils.

There is no requirement for any other omega oils – omega 7 or omega 9 or others, although these may be useful in particular circumstances

While we can take an omega 3 oil supplement it makes more sense to include omega 3 foods in our daily routine and the outstanding superfood to do that is linseed in the form of powdered linseeds / powdered flax seeds.

Many people think that they need to eat fish to get the omega 3 health bonus but this is a mistake. Yes, fish is a source of omega 3 oils but that is only because the fish feed on greens in their environment! The omega oils come from the greens and not the fish.

Going direct to the greens and to the powdered flax or linseeds cuts out the “middleman” and cuts out both the heavy metals such as mercury and other pollution that fish are exposed to.

How About Frying?

We can't leave any discussion of oils without mentioning frying!

Deep frying is never a healthy option and any recipe that calls for it just needs to be replaced and redesigned!

For shallow frying I advise olive oil and use either butter or olive oil to sauté mushrooms.

All other oils such as sunflower, corn oil, safflower etc. are rich sources of omega 6 and are best avoided since they will tip the balance in our body between omega 3 and omega 6 oils.

Olive oil is neutral and will not upset the balance in your body and comes in a variety of flavours.

It also helps if we avoid using other oils that may unbalance our oil intake. This includes any foods with trans fats which are synthetic, man made imitations of healthy oils.

good source of omega 3 oil - organic ground flaxseeds

We don't need imitation foods when we have the real thing.

Butter is a healthy source of oils and the stigmatisation of saturated fats like butter and coconut oil is out dated, commercially biased and simply wrong.

The health benefits of omega 3 oils whether as foods, supplements or oils are surprisingly deep and widespread, they are easy to use and even taste great.

Using them is one of the biggest and simplest changes we can make for our health.

 

 

Photo credit Roger Ward

 

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