The Daily Toxin Takeover

img_5213Most of us get up in the morning, (and hopefully) brush our teeth, swish around some mouthwash and take a shower with our favorite soap bar or body wash, shampoo and conditioner. We glide on deodorant and use some hair stuff to get our locks or mullets just right. We squirt and step into a mist of some sexy smelling perfume, just like on TV. It’s winter. Better fight dry, ashy skin with a good slathering of lotion. Maybe we put on some combination of makeup – lipstick, foundation, eye liner.

At some point, we might go into the kitchen, heat a skillet, line it with that spray bottle oil and crack some eggs, maybe some turkey bacon too. The aromas are hypnotizing. Oh, and can’t forget OJ. Pop a vitamin for good measure. Maybe take a medication regimen. Go to the coffee shop drive-thru even though we’re running late, get super annoyed at how long the line is, wait anyway and finally order coffee with five pumps of flavored creamer. No six. Perfection.

The morning rushes by at work. It’s lunch time. Running behind, as usual. Better grab something fast. We run to the closest fast food place. We justify that a certain sandwich spot isn’t as bad as some of our other options because in fact, they tell us we’re “eating fresh.”

We get home, hand the kids a quick snack before homework, maybe a peanut butter jelly sandwich, scoop dog food into our spazzy puppies’ bowls and start making dinner. Grab some canned vegetablesbeef and rice. Sweet tooth hits. Grab a couple of pieces of chocolate. We wipe the counter with a kitchen cleaner after dinner. Fill the dishwasher with soap. The dog farts. Ugh. Spray some air freshener. And at the end of the night, maybe a glass of wine or tea as we read a good book.

Time for bed. You know what that means. Brush our teeth, swish around some mouthwash. Go to bed. Wake up. And here we go again.


Yes, every bold item most likely has preservatives in it. I know. It’s overwhelming to think about all the ways we’re exposed to them. But if done in steps, it’s possible to significantly decrease their use. One big way to prevent daily preservatives is by reading labels, and closely. Then, over time, substitute products you’d usually consume with natural ones.

By the way, if you’re not sure what an ingredient is, research it before buying. Some ingredients are masked as safe (natural flavors, for instance), while others sound much scarier than they are (sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda). It may initially mean you’re at the store far longer than you’d like to be, but the investment will be worth it.


Some grocery and department stores have aisles dedicated to natural products. There are many independent businesses popping up too, because people are literally sick of using preservatives.

My sister and brother-in-law are one example. They’ve created Organic Memories, where they offer preservative-free products like body butter, salts, lip balms and soap. The Natural Products Association can provide information on where to find preservative-free products close to you.

So rise and shine. What’s your day going to look like?


We’d like to hear about your preservative-free routine and recommendations on your favorite natural products.

Just Say “No” and Other Ways to Turn Down Amazing Holiday Foods because it Just Wouldn’t End Well


IMG_1731 - Version 2Oh, the sparkly decorations, holiday parties and all that alluring food that gives you the come hither look that no one else can see. During the holidays, it is sometimes difficult to say no to all of the variety available at the table. You’re laughing and talking and maybe drinking a few sips of alcohol throughout the evening. You’re having a great time, the conversations are intriguing, your inhibitions are slowly slipping away.

Even though some of us may know exactly what foods trigger our allergic and inflammatory responses, it’s tempting to overlook the repercussions in the moment, particularly when dining with others. As though it’s not hard enough to fight off the urge to try every little delightful dish on the table, there’s also Good Food That’s Oh, So Bad for Me peer pressure. The act of sharing a meal is a significant custom in many parts of the world. It is a cherished form of communing for many, and some take these rituals very personally.

Every culture has its unspoken guidelines about food. In some cultures for instance, burping is apparently a sign that the food was tasty. It is said to equate to a sign of appreciation. In other cultures, it is a sign of disrespect to refuse food, which might be a more difficult custom to work around when trying diligently to avoid certain foods. Although you don’t want to go around offending people, there are definitely ways to stand your ground without feeling like the pretentious jerk of the party.

The more information people have about the severity of a food allergy (or your reasons for staying away from a particular food), the more buy-in you’ll receive. An explanation of your preferences is often sufficient for people to back off, however, in some families, such as my own, people insist that I MUST try a certain dish. If you start getting the evil eye and you want out, it may be helpful to throw out some solid statistics to solidify your point.

If your loving family finds a cunning reason to induce guilt (sometimes being synonymous with family) by saying something like, “Oh, that’s too bad because your 98-year-old grandma made this just for YOU,” thrown in with a look that could slap, you might have to reach far within the back of the arsenal.  In the past, I’ve taken a piece of food and offered the possibility that I might try a teeny, weeny bite. Maybe. This is usually a huge maybe.

And I get the pressure. This is THE family recipe. Your Mama’s Mama’s Mama made this particular recipe for 70 decades. And it’s not about the Jones family cookies or the Mama Lucy’s peanut bars, it’s about unity, nostalgia and making new memories together. So, as I said, It’s a huge maybe, but I’d rather slide something onto my plate instead of hurting poor Grandma’s feelings.

There is also the option of bringing a dish, which the host will surely appreciate. This way, temptation is down and you have a safe alternative. Bringing a dish is also a visual reminder to others that your food concerns are real. They may even love what you’ve brought.

Have a wonderful, yummy holiday filled with blessings.







Update on That ‘No Preservative’ Thing

So we’re getting through a week of eating preservative-free. Journeys usually start out as idealistic, courageous notions where everything will work out seamlessly. Why else would we choose to venture out on them, right? Only problem is, reality sets in really quickly sometimes. For instance, I was super pumped about going preservative-free. I’m walking around the house like, “Hey, who needs preservatives anyway? Why would anyone want to eat stuff that doesn’t belong in our bodies? That’s nasty!” Yup, I was pretty self-righteous and annoying. And that’s probably why I very mindlessly popped dye-filled bites of food into my mouth here and there without thinking about it until it was too late.  But so what? I didn’t stay on the plan 100% of the time. And that’s okay because Ladybug and I promised ourselves we would take small steps. That’s the thing about change. It just doesn’t work out well to do too much too fast. So we’re slowing it down. In fact, it’s a good time to focus on mindful eating, which has so many benefits.I’ll share an article about it soon.

Relationship between Preservatives and Dementia

I currently provide psychological services to patients suffering from dementia. The umbrella term of dementia includes Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease-related Dementia, among others. There seem to be a variety of reasons people develop dementia, one of them being linked to consumption of preservatives. Dr. Suzanne de la Monte has discovered a relationship between dementia, insulin production and preservatives. She reports that preservatives in the body can cause increased insulin resistance. Insulin is most often associated with the pancreas, however, insulin is also produced in the brain. According to Dr. de la Monte, lack of insulin in the brain is related to dementia. Read the article here:

Preservatives and Breathing Difficulties

inhalerI was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 15. I struggled to get a handle on it for a long time, because even though I’ve tried to prevent triggers like kitty dander and cold weather, I still had a sudden onset of symptoms from time to time. Medication has been useful when necessary and I work closely with my doctor to manage an asthma action plan. I’ve used long-acting inhalers and rescue inhalers since being diagnosed. However, I’ve also continued to search for preventative methods that might help me avoid future attacks. I was frustrated with what felt like random symptoms. I came to realize that outside of the usual triggers, I also developed certain food allergies, like raw onions. Yet, the biggest culprits that pervaded my everyday life were the different preservatives I was eating. I honestly didn’t think much about the negative effects of preservatives for a long time because I didn’t see a direct problem with them. I ate what tasted good. However, as I realized that certain preservatives were preventing me from breathing, I knew it was time to change my diet.  If you have similar symptoms, first speak with your doctor about the possibility that your asthma is being triggered by preservatives. Then, start reading labels compulsively. Some preservatives thought to trigger asthma symptoms are sulfites, tartrazine (yellow dye), benzoates, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and salicylates. Watch out for these nasties. Happy breathing.

Why Preservatives are Harmful

Researchers have found multiple reasons why preservatives are harmful to us. They are not natural and therefore, interact negatively with our bodies. Some preservatives can potentially cause breathing difficulties, negative behavioral changes such as hyperactivity, heart damage and cancer. Check out this article by