4 Simple Ways to Nourish Yourself this Summer

 
 

I love each and every season because each one allows us to tap in to its unique energy. In Chinese Medicine, Summer is the element of fire and it's associated with the heart and the small intestine. It's about growth, expansion, and the best time to nourish the spirit. The emotion is joy, the sound is laughter.

While spring is about new beginnings taking in the new, summer allows us to assimilate this newness (like the small intestine assimilates nutrients). 

Here are 4 ways to nourish yourself this summer!

1. EAT FRUIT!

It's the most yang time of the year with the most sunlight and warmth. Summer is the best time of year to indulge in fruit because it's both hydrating and cooling. 

Make fruit smoothies with bananas, frozen mango and berries. Enjoy half a melon for breakfast or a bowl of nectarines, peaches, and berries for a cooling afternoon snack. 

I don't subscribe to the school of thought that fruit has too much sugar. There's plenty of water and fiber in fruit to make up for it. Fruit is THE best source for phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-cancer properties. I felt amazing (and my skin improved) when I increased my fruit consumption.

2. ENJOY THE SUN!

My dogs always seek out the sunbeam on the floor when they're inside. Sometimes I let them outside and Daisy will just plop down on the sunniest part of the yard (even if it's just dirt!). Dogs instinctively know the benefits the sun brings.

The best time of day to spend time in the sun is morning or late afternoon... when you can still feel the warmth on your skin, but it's not burning you. Spend 10-20 minutes with your eyes closed and feel the warmth and joy penetrating your skin. 

My mood is always better when I've sunbathe regularly (safely of course).

3. DO WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY!

Although it's always nourishing to the spirit to do what brings you joy, this is the time of year where the fire energy of summer allows joy to flow easier, deeper, and last longer. The heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by the fire element in Chinese Medicine. 

Where do you find yourself being naturally creative? Who are you with when you smile and laugh the most? What makes you feel zest and passion in your life?

4. HEAL EMOTIONAL WOUNDS

When the heart and spirit are free, the mind is free. When the mind is free, you open yourself up to new ideas, new habits, and new ways of being in the world. This can also improve sleep!

Validating your feelings- whether it's in a journal or talking to a friend or professional- allows the wound to come to the surface. Sometimes we keep them buried down which will only hurt us more in the long run. 

Once the emotional wounds are surfaced, many times they go away on their own. Other times, they may require action on your part such as a purging exercise of free writing and burning, reaching out and apologizing to a loved one, or simply prayer or meditation.

 

Apply these 4 things to your life this summer and no doubt you will feel more in touch with your spirit, and the joy and warmth summer brings. 

 

To your health and healing,

Mandi

 
 

Managing Toxic Body Burden Part 2: How to Protect Yourself

The most physically toxic point in my life was around 5 years ago when my husband and I went through 2 renovations within a 2 year period with our gym. We renovated our second location and were there for barely 2 years before we moved to a third location- both requiring complete renovations. This was when I first learned my sensitivity to building materials. The headaches, the nausea, the fatigue... these two projects helped me quickly realize it wasn't a coincidence. 

During the second renovation I had dyed my hair then went to the new location to check on things and spent about an hour in all the dust and fumes (even wearing a mask). However, the very next day, I awoke in the morning with the most painful, most nauseating migraine of my life. Feeling like I was having the worst hangover of my life without having one single drink, I felt like I had 10 tequila shots the night before. I vomited and went right back to sleep until mid afternoon.

I was stunned at how I could be so hungover without drinking. My toxic body burden was through the roof! I thought back, what happened the last few days? Oh yeah! The building materials and the hair dye. This horrible experience convinced me to swear off my exposure to both of those things and look further into relieving my toxic body burden.

In Managing Toxic Body Burden Part 1: Sources of Contamination, we talked about what toxins are lurking where- specifically in what you eat, water you drink, the air you breathe, and what you put on your body. If you missed that one you can read it here or follow the link at the bottom of the page.

Rule #1 in protecting yourself from contributing to toxic body burden is removing the offenders to prevent any further toxins from entering your body.

Here are steps you can take to protect you and your family.

1. Stop drinking, cooking, and bathing in tap water

Installing a whole house filter is ideal, but having a filter in the kitchen and on your shower heads is also easier and more cost effective. 

Any type of kitchen filter is better. There are water filters, purifiers, and reverse osmosis to choose from. If you choose a reverse osmosis purification system, be sure to buy some drops to add trace minerals back into the water. I chose a Berkey filter with the added fluoride & chlorine filter.

If you find yourself needing to buy a bottle of water, buy spring or purified water in a glass container. 'Drinking water' will have added fluoride and distilled water is void of minerals. 

2. clean your home (and clothes) with natural and homemade cleaners

The harsh and toxic chemicals in conventional cleaning product are completely unnecessary, end up costing you more, and add to environmental toxicity not just in your home, but in your community. 

My two favorite go-to cleaning solutions are 50/50 white vinegar:water and essential oils (such as thieves, rosemary, lavender, thyme, lemon) in water. These are both great for disinfecting toilets, bathrooms, kitchen, and the vinegar solution leaves a streak free shine on glass and mirrors. 

The internet is full of all these DIY concoctions so it's easy to get recipes. If you don't want to bother making your own, there are many natural brands out there like Honest, Ecover, Seventh Generation, & Method. These are better than the conventional cleaners, but some may still smell harsh or contain controversial ingredients.

3. Use only natural personal care products or food on your skin, hair, & Nails.

It only takes a few seconds for your skin to absorb what's on top of it. It then enters your tissues, lymph, and possibly blood stream.

Like cleaning products, there is a plethora of natural products good for you and the environment. When reading labels, remember that fragrance is a harsh chemical and an endocrine disruptor. Consider essential oils as an alternative.

Your kitchen often has all you need for personal care. I follow the rule- if you can't eat it, it doesn't belong on the skin either. For instance, I wash my face with the oil cleansing method and use lemon juice or baking soda to exfoliate. 

Cosmetics are one of the worst offenders- consider brands like Living Libations and  Primal Life Organics

4. Eat food as close to it's natural form as possible

Clean eating has varying degrees. One can simply cut out processed food, while on the other hand, you have the person who grows their own veggies and has no run-off from conventional farming (I'm jealous of this person!).

The more a food is unrecognizable as a plant or the animal in which it originated, the more it's been processed. Food grown organically is in it's most natural form compared to food grown with all the pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.

With this rule in mind, you'll be avoiding additives and preservatives like citric acid, which is not made from citrus, but GMO corn sugar and mold.

    5. breathe fresh, clean air

    Remember... we take in air, water, and food to survive and thrive. The air quality we breathe is what we have the least control over out of those three. 

    Allow new items to off-gas outside before bring them in your home. Think of items that have that "new" smell or remind you of perfume (usually that perfume is fungicide). This goes for anything you buy in a box (especially if it's plastic), furniture, anything painted, stained, or finished.

    Avoid scented candles, air fresheners, or any chemicals in a spray can as these are normally endocrine disruptors and chemicals you don't want in your lungs and entering blood stream. Instead, put out baking soda in a bowl or charcoal bags to absorb unpleasant smells and unscented beeswax candles (like these) or a high quality air filter to purify the air.

    Open your windows as much as possible to let in fresh air! Remember, your home itself (the walls, flooring, furnishings, etc.) are all off-gassing constantly. Because of this, indoor air is often more polluted that outdoor air. Don't we always feel better after going outside and breathing in fresh air? Let the air in as much as weather permits. 

    make changes slowly

    Don't end up like me where you wake up one day hungover from toxic body burden. I know all of these steps may feel overwhelming. I discovered most of these things over time, but it may be helpful to create a priority list and change things as you go. 

    Be on the lookout for Part 3 of Managing Toxic Body Burden and how these toxins can contribute towards illness.

     

    To your health and healing,

    Mandi

     
     

    Managing Toxic Body Burden Part 1: Sources of Contamination

    When I began this post, I intended it to only be one blog post. However, the more I wrote and the more research I did, the more I realized this isn't even a 2-parter... it's an entire series!!

    This post is specifically about sources of toxins that have the potential to damage our health and lead us further towards disease, not towards vitality. In Part 2, I'll share how to protect yourself from these sources. A third addition to this series will be more specific on how these contaminates contribute towards disease. As this series continues, it will get more and more specific. I'm excited to keep writing about it! 

    Let's dig in.

    Do you experience...?

    Do you get headaches, migraines, or maybe random nausea? Do you ever get lethargic or tired even after a good night sleep? Frequent allergic reactions, or frequent infections, or bad breath? Difficulty losing weight, chronic water retention, joint pain? Source. Any of these symptoms can indicate many things, including toxic body burden. (Always be sure to check with your doctor).

    What is Toxic Body Burden?

    Defined by Marriam-Webster, a toxin is "a poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation." 

    This definition of a toxin covers venom and poison created in all living things. Another item included here is the metabolic waste our bodies make on a daily basis. On it's own, our bodies can excrete these with no problem.

    However, post industrial revolution, take into account the amount of environmental toxins (chemicals, pollutants, heavy metals, etc.) we take in daily. This is an overwhelming amount. These toxins often accumulate faster than the body can process and excrete. Over time, the liver, kidneys, and lymph system that works to metabolize and excrete all waste from our bodies, become overburdened and this toxic waste builds up and is stored in our adipose tissue, joints... anywhere the body deems safe enough.

    The level at which our body is experiencing this toxicity and the extent it's affecting normal functioning is toxic body burden, or simply body burden, or toxic load.

    Therefore, it's instrumental to know WHERE contaminates are coming from so you can protect yourself and your family. 

    Things you put in your mouth

    Pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are not meant to be eaten yet they're all over our food and water supply (from run off and the hydrologic cycle). Hormones, antibiotics, GMO's, heavy metals from fish, and the thousands of additives in our food that many aren't required to even be labeled- our food supply is tainted- to put it nicely. 

    Things you put on your skin, hair, and nails 

    Beauty and personal hygiene can be major sources of toxicity unless you take specific steps to protect yourself. From the aluminum in conventional antiperspirant/deodorant to parabens and plastics in lotions; fragrance in hair care and body care; butane, ether, & polymers in hair spray; formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene in nail polish; and the many chemicals in hair dye that has been deemed “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens.” by the NPT (National Toxicology Program).

    Our water

    This includes drinking water, water we cook with, and the water we bathe in. Water is the universal solvent; it collects and hold everything it touches. When water is treated, most nasty things we don't want do- thankfully- get purified out.

    However, with the use of chlorine to sanitize it (which also kills our gut flora), the addition of fluoride, and the many things that are NOT filtered out- such as drugs our neighbors take. You yourself may not be taking these drugs, but you are when you don't filter or purify your water. Medications such as birth control and other hormones, antibiotics, statins, NSAIDS, and even chemotherapy drugs- among many other types of contaminates- are lurking in our water supply.

    Our home

    The off-gassing from carpeting, flame retardants on our furniture, and foam in furniture pollute our indoor air. Our laundry (if you're using conventional chemical filled stuff and not natural detergent) and our kitchen cooking tools such as aluminum, non-stick coated cookware and anything plastic (even when it's BPA free). BPA has been found to prevent chromosomes from aligning, repairing, and separating properly- permanent damage to DNA! 

    Anything scented with fragrance are unnecessary chemicals adding to polluted indoor air; also insecticide spray, either in the home or in lawn care. Lastly, possible mold contamination from leaking water or damp areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.

    What We Breathe

    We can choose what we eat, drink, put on our bodies and in our homes, but we have far less control over what we're breathing. Outdoor air is contaminated, the severity depending proximity to busy roads, urban vs suburban areas, and even near farmland that sprays. Motor vehicle emissions alone contribute nitric acid, VOC'c, carbon monoxide, hazardous air pollutants like benzene (which damages bone marrow and depresses the immune system), and particulate matter (contributes to asthma and lung cancer). Source

    What can be done

    You may say that the aluminum in deodorant isn't so bad... or a little mercury in fish won't hurt me... the fragrance in my shampoo can't be that harmful... but you can go on and on defending how this or that isn't so bad. And you would be right if that was the only toxic element you were exposed to even just once a week.

    However, as the above demonstrates, there are innumerable toxins we consume and surround ourselves with every single day. This adds up and contributes to toxic body burden. 

    There are many steps you can take to protect you, your family, and your home from contributing to toxic body burden. Read on to find out!

    Part II: Managing Toxic Body Burden: How to Protect Yourself

     

    To your health and healing,

    Mandi

     
    150403-Paleo-104-retouch.jpg