danger of aluminum in antiperspirants

How many of you are using commercial antiperspirants?

 

Not much research has been published on what happens to our health as a consequence of using them.   But  they all  contain aluminum, which I believe is one of the most toxic ingredients in personal-care products.   (It is followed closely by sodium laureth sulfate and propylene glycol).   I hope you will memorize those three names and avoid products that use them.   And if you want to add a few more ingredients to avoid, add these to your list: talc (containing aluminum as well), dimethicone, clyclomethicone, and polyethylene.

 

We do know that aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s as well as problems absorbing minerals.   It may be linked to kidney problems and breast cancer as well.   The FDA assures us that we can continue using antiperspirants without concern, but then again, the FDA is not truly protecting us from much.   That organization’s modus operandi with chemicals seems to be “innocent until proven guilty.”

 

You may think, well, I’m putting these products in my hair, or on my skin, which isn’t that bad.   But your skin is highly absorptive, and those chemicals do go into your bloodstream, where they then become systemic.

 

Many companies offer natural deodorants and antiperspirants.   You can find a variety of options at any health food store.   I haven’t personally found the “deodorants” to be effective (and I care about this a  LOT since I like to break a sweat  six days a week, for an hour).   The only thing I’ve tried that I really love is also the simplest: a crystal stick.   You just wet it and rub it under your arms.

 

I hope you’ll decide now to quit using commercial antiperspirants.   I watched my former husband’s grandfather die of Alzheimer’s, and it isn’t a pretty way to go.   It’s also emotionally devastating to everyone who loves that person.   Anything we can do to reduce our risk of that ugly fate is a good thing.

 

(The other significant finding is that we reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s if we READ a lot into our old age.   You’re already on the right path there, all of you, for the obvious reason!   So just work on getting the aluminum off your skin.)

You ready to commit to that?   A crystal stick is about $4 at your health food store and lasts a really long time.

what enzymes do to make food digestible . . . part 6

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: Which enzyme supplement should I take?

 

If you’re going to eat at least some of your meals that are partially or fully cooked or processed, please always take 1 or 2 capsules of digestive enzymes first.   If you read my site, blog, or book, you know I am generally skeptical of eating pills, period.   I believe synthetic supplementation is massively inferior to the complex way that nature designed food to give us just the right ratios in the most natural, easily assimilated way possible.

 

Digestive enzymes, however, are a necessity if you’re not planning to buck modern culture altogether and eat a mostly-raw diet every meal, every day.   I know of no controversy about taking enzyme supplements, because so many studies have shown their effectiveness.   I recommend having them in your purse or wallet at all times, as well as in your kitchen.

 

Enzyme supplements come from animals, plants, or microorganisms.   Supplements made from animal pancreas extracts become inactive when hydrochloric acid enters the lower stomach.   They aren’t particularly adapted, since they operate in the controlled internal environment.   Microbial enzymes, on the other hand, are active at pH as low as 2.0 and as high as 10.0. Microorganisms use their enzymes to break down the plant material they grow on, and since fungus can grow in a variety of places, fungi have very adaptable enzymes.   Manufacturers coat pancreatic enzymes for acid resistance, with chemical coatings I don’t trust.   So I much prefer plant-based or microbial enzymes.

 

I don’t advocate for lots of supplements, fractionated and processed far from the holistic packages we get in whole plant foods.   I believe nature provided well for us.   The two supplements I do believe in taking on a regular basis are DIGESTIVE ENZYMES and a good PROBIOTIC (to heal and nourish the gut and guard against takeovers by bad bacteria).

 

Look for microbial or plant-based enzyme supplements. (And no, I don’t have a brand I know to be superior to others to recommend to you.   I am still researching.)

 

Take one capsule at the beginning of a meal that is 50-70% raw.   Take two capsules if your meal is less than 50% raw.   If you forget at the beginning of the meal, take your enzymes in the middle or even at the end of the meal.   They work on contact!

is agave good food?

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: What about the controversy surrounding agave?

Answer: I have seen a couple of people with clout on the internet say that one should be careful with agave.   They make a decent point that since much of the product imported into the U.S. is from Mexico, we don’t always know what we’re getting.   Sometimes imported product can be pretty wild and woolly, especially from developing countries.   An allegation has gone around that high fructose corn syrup is cut into the agave.   That would certainly be a way to increase your profit margin, if you’re an agave manufacturer.

The agave I use, that I buy in huge bulk for my local buying group a couple times a year (66 cases of 4 gallons each sitting in my garage right now), I know does not contain corn syrup.   Personally, I react very negatively to HFCS, and I feel great when I use this agave.   I required the company I buy from wholesale to produce their organic certification.   I checked into the importer’s reputation and didn’t find anything amiss.   I got the nutritional sheet on both the light and dark, and compared (overall, no big difference).

You can get agave RAW or not.   I don’t believe there’s any way the product is literally cold-pressed from the cactus straight into the bottle.   I don’t personally believe it’s truly raw.   So I use agave sparingly, as a replacement for items that are more processed and more destructive to your blood sugar.

Agave has 1/3 the calories and 1/3 the impact on your blood sugar that other concentrated sweeteners do, like HFCS, sugar, and honey.   That’s pretty brilliant.   Don’t take that as a license to go crazy with it, though.

If you want to be an absolutist or  purist, don’t use any sweeteners at all.   Just eat fruit and dates.   Even most raw foodists do use maple syrup, which is never truly raw, and agave.   If you want to use occasional sweeteners for baked goods, etc.,  a good brand of agave  is probably the best or one of the best sweetener options.   (Madhava, a brand a few of you have mentioned,  does have a good reputation.)

Locals, I bought some extra agave, so let me know if you want a case: 4 gallons for $130 (raw, organic).

The Essential GreenSmoothieGirl Library . . . last part

For those wanting to grow a garden (the #1 way to save money eating a plant-based diet), these are my “bibles”–click on the link if you want to pick it up at Amazon:

 

Marian Morash’s The Victory Garden Cookbook is the definitive garden how-to, with hundreds of recipes on how to use each of those garden vegetables–I use this recipe book constantly, except when someone borrows it, falls in love with it, and doesn’t return it!

 

 

Eliot Coleman’s Four Seasons Harvest was a breakthrough for me, showing how to grow a winter garden even outdoors in a cold climate

 

 

Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening has taken the home gardening world by storm.   That’s because this is the very best way to grow a garden, maximizing space and minimizing work.

The Essential GreenSmoothieGirl Library . . . part 8

More important books for parents to own:

 

Denise Punger, M.D. is a GreenSmoothieGirl 12 Stepper and a brave new voice in modern medicine.   She’s a board certified doctor married to another medical doctor, but she’s also a mother who has breastfed for 12 years and delivered her last baby via home birth.   She’s an advocate of home birth, doulas, breastfeeding, and trusting a mother’s instincts.   Her Permission to Mother: Going Byond the Standard-of-Care to Nurture Our Children is an important book for young mothers to own.

 

 

Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food are geared towards teens.   Give your kid an incentive to read one or both of these books.   My 11- and 13-year old kids loved these best-selling exposes and never wanted to set foot in a fast-food establishment again.   Okay, they never set foot in fast-food establishments anyway, except to make a bathroom stop on a trip.   They inspired my oldest daughter to become a vegetarian, and she later converted her sister.   Written for preteens and teens, this is an excellent education in why you want to avoid all fast food.   I overheard my daughter after she read Chew On This telling a friend regarding the friend’s sugar habit, “You know that children diagnosed with diabetes by the age of 8 shorten their lives by 25-30 years, don’t you?”   (Heh heh, my evil educational plot is working!)   Too bad the author states in the introduction that his favorite meal is a fast food burger.

 

 

Ron Seaborn’s The Children’s Health Food Book is a seriously weird book!   A friend recommended it to me, and when I picked it up at a health food store, my then-four-year old son went crazy for it.   I read it to him several times a day, because he begged me non-stop, until I just couldn’t take it any more and was making up my own words.   The antiheroes are the Starch Creature, the Dairy Goon, the Meat Monster, and the Sugar Demon.   Of course, the vegetable, fruit, and whole-grain superheroes come in and save the day.   This book is good for younger kids–just beware that the preschool teacher might call you and say your kid is scaring the other kids by pointing out how bad their snacks are (this actually happened to me).

The Essential GreenSmoothieGirl Library . . . part 7

These are books important for parents to own:

Robert Mendelsohn, M.D.’s How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor is an enlightening, if old, book by a renowned pediatrician who left a top hospital post after becoming disgusted with the way modern medicine treats children.   Dr. Mendelssohn led a research hospital in Chicago until he became so  disenchanted with medical practices that he wrote this book that every parent should read to understand why it’s so critical to not put blind faith in medicine.   Some of the things I recall most vividly is how he challenged the escalating trend of tonsils and adenoids being taken out of young boys, only to find that truly, these surgeries were unnecessary and risky for the patients but were needed to fill quotas for medical residents’ requirements.

I learned from Dr. M that a fever is a natural, healthy way for the body to fight infection, and that fever should not be “fought” or drugged.   He put my mind at ease with statistics reassuring me that an out-of-control fever is so rare as to be something I needn’t worry about.   This book is a good start towards realizing that the doctor isn’t God: a good first step down a road to a mother becoming a healer in the home.

You won’t so much get alternative health advice as much as understand the medical paradigm’s limitations and abuses, which is helpful in a parent’s initial effort to break loose of modern pediatrics.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Disease Proof Your Child is an excellent primer, a book to buy as a gift for people who love their children and want them to be healthy.   It explains why eating plants is our kids’ best protection against the modern plagues that have become epidemics, and “your new cookbook” at the end is a good resource.   I disagree with some of the ingredients Fuhrman uses, such as canola mayo and lots of soy milk/cheese/etc., but these are small issues considering the dramatic potential of this book for families.