DIY: A Natural Way To Unclog Your Drain

I usually put off the unpleasant task of unclogging the bathroom sink until it is so clogged that the water sits inside the sink because it can no longer squeeze through the foul collection of dirt and hair (I don’t recommend that you wait this long). When this happens, I am tempted to run to the nearest store to buy some chemicals that will quickly flush all of the slime away. However, I always end up staying home because I do not want to buy any products that can be harmful for my family’s health (see Toxic House: Remove Endocrine Disruptors From Your Home).

Today, I went on EWG.org to do some research on a conventional drain cleaner that we previously used. According to the website, the product has high concerns for skin allergies and irritation. It has moderate concerns for the respiratory system and the environment. It also has some concerns for developmental/reproductive toxicity and cancer. The product received a grade of F, the lowest possible grade. Thanks to the good ol’ internet, I found a non-toxic, quick, easy, cheap and effective way to unclog my bathroom sink drain. All you need is a wire hanger, water and salt!

Step 1: Take off the drain cover.

Step 2: Untwist a wire hanger until you have a straight piece of long wire that will fit down the drain.

Step 3: Use the hanger as a hook to pull up hair and grime (warning: the gunk will be rather smelly and disgusting). Repeat as needed.

Step 4: Pour 1/2 cup of table salt (any kind) down the drain.

Step 5: Heat 8 cups of water until it is almost boiling.

Step 6: Pour the water down the drain.

This worked so well for me! If it does not work for you, click here to get more tips from brendid.com.

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This post was originally published on March 23, 2019. It was updated on January 10, 2020.

Toxic House: Remove Endocrine Disruptors From Your Home

The amount of time, financial cost and level of commitment required to improve your health can make a healthy lifestyle seem daunting. However, I believe that healthy living can start with one small habit change. Over time, multiple, small habit changes can eventually lead to the results that you are striving for. If you are looking for an easy and cost-effective way to improve your health, I suggest that you start by eliminating endocrine disruptors from your home; this seemingly small change can produce dramatic results for your health!

What is the Endocrine System?

The endocrine system (adrenal gland, ovary, pancreas, pituitary gland, testes and thyroid gland) makes hormones (chemical messengers) that travel through the body and affect our body in numerous ways. According to the National Institute of Health, hormones affect the following:

  • Growth and development
  • Metabolism (digestion, elimination, breathing, blood circulation and maintaining body temperature)
  • Sexual function
  • Reproduction
  • Mood

As you can see, the endocrine system affects just about everything in your body!

What are Endocrine Disruptors?

According to the National Institute of Health, “Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.” According to The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, endocrine disruptors may also cause an increase or progression of obesity, diabetes, endometriosis and some cancers. Unfortunately, some research suggests that even low doses of toxic chemicals can cause diseases and symptoms that may not be detectable until later in life. These diseases might even affect our future children, even if our future children were not directly exposed to the chemicals that we were exposed to!

Categories of Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals (EDCs)

Household product ingredients: Chemicals found in items such as appliances, vehicles, materials, electronics, crafts, textiles, furniture and household cleaning products.

Personal care products/cosmetic ingredients: Chemicals found in products such as cosmetics, shampoos, lotions, soaps, deodorants, fragrances and shaving products.

Pesticide ingredients: Insecticides/acaricides (miticides), herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, and other biocides, including chemicals described as “inert.”

Flame retardants: Chemicals used to prevent fires. Applied to clothing, mattresses, and furniture.

Plastics/rubber: Components, reactants or additives used in the manufacturing of rubbers or plastics.

Industrial additives: Chemicals used as preservatives, antioxidants, and surfactants used in such things as glue, plastic, rubber, paint and wood products.

Solvents: Chemicals used to dissolve other chemicals. Common in cleaning products in the home.

Food additives: Dyes, preservatives and many compounds used in food processing and as components in food packaging.

Metal/metallurgy: Elements or chemicals used in the extraction, processing or manufacturing of a metal or metal-containing product, including welding.

Medical/veterinary/research: Chemicals used in hospitals, medical supplies, and equipment, in laboratories or as reagants, and pharmaceuticals.

Antimicrobials: Chemicals that prevent the growth of and/or destroy microorganisms including hand washing products.

Source: Copyright © 2014 by the International Nurse Coach Association. http://www.inursecoach.com

How can we protect ourselves from endocrine disruptors?

  1. Buy safer personal care products or make your own (see Toxic House and DIY: Foaming Hand Soap).
  2. When possible, buy organic foods that do not contain toxic additives and pesticides.
  3. Buy mattresses, pillows, furniture and baby gear that have not been treated with flame retardants and other toxic chemicals.
  4. When possible, avoid plasticware with food, drinks and children.
  5. Buy safer supplies when painting or renovating your home (see Toxic House and ewg.org).
  6. Open a window for ventilation.
  7. Help your body detoxify with healthy foods, whole-food supplements (non-GMO), exercise and essential oils.

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Does Food Really Matter?

“Maybe if I am more careful about what I put into my body, then my health will improve.” I was having a conversation with a group of people when someone said this to everyone. When she said this, I thought to myself, “Maybe?! Are you kidding me? What you put into your body makes all the difference in the world.”

But then I had to stop myself from thinking too harshly of this mindset. Before 2011, I didn’t really believe that food made much of a difference for my health. I hated cooking and I ate the most convenient, processed Fake Foods.

I have learned a lot since then. I was recently surfing the web and came across the term “Real Food Crusader”— this term was used to describe the Wellness Mama and is now a term that I would use to describe myself.

What is Real Food?

In simple terms, Real Food (as opposed to “Fake Food”) is food that has not been adulterated with manmade chemicals or additives.

Why does Real Food make you healthy?

Your body knows how to use Real Food to build a strong body and it knows how to use Real Food to effectively eliminate toxins from the body.

Your body doesn’t know what to do with Fake Food. If your body can’t efficiently eliminate the Fake Food (which is basically toxic to the body), the Fake Food/toxicity stays in your body, leading to obesity and disease.

What are the benefits of Real Food?

A person with a strong, less toxic body will have a better mood, less weight, glowing skin, and more energy. Real Food can alleviate and eliminate disease.

How do you become a Real Food Crusader?

I know that Real Food can be expensive, so I don’t fault people for buying Fake Food. If it is difficult for you to afford Real Food, start small. Start by swapping one Fake Food for one Real Food. You can also save money by shopping at Thrive Market. Vote smart with your dollars. Hopefully, if more of us support farmers and vendors that provide Real Food, it will become more of an affordable norm!

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Eliminating Disease With Natural Methods: My Psoriasis Success Story

My symptoms started with dry patches on my fingers and eventually progressed to oozing, flaky, painful, itchy rashes that spread to the fronts and backs of my hands. On my worst days, I also had itchy hives on my arms and nasty blotches on my face, neck, underarms, and foot. When washing dishes, I had to wear cotton gloves underneath my rubber gloves to avoid additional pain and cuts to my hands. I was scared of holding my squirmy kids because their clothes irritated my hands whenever they moved around in my arms. At night, I taped a sock onto my hand to protect myself from obsessive scratching in my sleep. The worst of my symptoms lasted for about five months. It took a lot of perseverance, but multiple lifestyle changes finally led to the restoration of my hands and skin! Continue reading to find out more about my story.

April

My fingers became dry and itchy. The rashes started spreading from my fingers to other parts of my hand.

May

I started cutting processed foods and sugar out of my diet.

June

My skin got worse.

July

I bought Dr. Axe’s Healing Leaky Gut Program and began to completely overhaul my diet. After a couple of weeks, I had hives on my arms; I also began to experience extreme fatigue, weakness, brain fog, and mild depression. This was probably due to the Herxheimer Reaction—a common reaction that occurs when toxins in the body start to die off.

I started bathing my hands in epsom salt and essential oils. I’m embarrassed to admit that this was a foolish move on my part. I shouldn’t have used Epsom salt and certain essential oils on open sores.

August

My hands started rejecting everything that I put on them. Up to that point, I had avoided going to the doctor because I don’t like taking drugs. Late on a Friday night, I was in so much pain that I followed a friend’s advice and went to an Immediate Care center. The doctor prescribed a topical steroid and an oral steroid for my “psoriasis” (according to the doctor, it was not a “slam dunk” psoriasis diagnosis). I said “No” to the oral steroid but I took the topical steroid. After a few days of using the topical steroid, my hands started to get better and I started to feel some relief from the itch and pain.

I was glad that the steroid helped, but I wasn’t interested in just putting a band-aid on my symptoms. Instead of staying on the steroid for too long, I stopped using it after five days. I was determined to find out why my skin was so angry. I started reading The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers and began to tweak my diet again.

I visited a chiropractor/acupuncturist who recommended six sessions over the course of three weeks. I was feeling hopeful that my skin would be back to normal by the time I went on vacation in September. The first four sessions were very relaxing, but my skin was starting to get inflamed again. I decided not to spend the extra money on two more sessions.

I started reading The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin and tweaked my diet for the third time. Symptoms of the Herxheimer Reaction continued.

September

I restarted the topical steroid for about three days and went on vacation for a week. It was difficult to find “real food” to eat, but I did the best that I could.

After I got back from vacation, the skin on my hands became inflamed once again. Due to all my dietary restrictions, my weight dropped down to 90 pounds (my regular weight was 105 pounds). I followed Amy Myers advice and found a Functional Medicine practitioner (a practitioner that looks for, and treats the root cause of disease). She ran some blood tests and recommended that I increase my dosage of fish oil. When I got home, I immediately started taking more fish oil. Two days later, the skin on my hands started to clear up! Unfortunately, after about a week, my skin started to look angry again. Symptoms of the Herxheimer Reaction continued.

October

I did a cleanse with essential oils. To my surprise, my skin started to clear up again! The oils gave my body the extra help it needed to scrub off some of the toxicity in my gut. (Please note that cleansing while breastfeeding is not necessarily recommended. This was something that I was not aware of at the time.)

My blood test results came back and revealed dehydration (I had been breastfeeding since August 2018); Epstein-Barr virus reactivation; toxicity and yeast in the gut; and a high need for vitamin C, alpha-lipoic acid, B-vitamins, probiotics, pancreatic enzymes, glutathione, and plant-based antioxidants. Also, my practitioner believes that I have MTHFR mutation. My practitioner noted that if I had not made so many healthy diet changes in the past few months, then I would have been in worse condition.

Based on my test results and my practitioner’s recommendations, I tweaked my diet (yet again) and added some extra supplements to my daily routine. Because I am breastfeeding, we chose to focus on detoxification with foods instead of using more aggressive measures. To help with further detoxification, low energy, and mood support, I started doing essential oil protocols on my feet.

Today

My skin now looks normal and I can do the things that I used to do without pain. I don’t have to tape a sock to my hand to prevent myself from scratching in my sleep. I can change diapers and hold my kids without fear of blood, pus, and additional damage to my skin. I can wash the dishes without wearing any gloves! On some days, my energy and mood are better than ever before. There are also days when my skin is a tad itchy and irritated, but it does not bother me much at all. My Functional Medicine practitioner told me that it would take six months to a year for me to fully recover.

Why This Happened

Since 2011, I had been pregnant three times and had breastfed each baby for two years. Throughout this time of growing babies, breastfeeding, working, and dealing with daily stressors, I was not taking proper care of myself. I did not make the time to drink enough water or eat the right foods that would help my body to rid itself of toxicity and ongoing threats. If I had taken better care of myself, the Epstein-Barr virus (an extremely common virus that does not always cause noticeable symptoms) would probably not have been an issue and my body would have been able to function normally, despite the possible MTHFR mutation (many people have this mutation, but everyone is affected differently by the mutation). The body can handle some abnormalities and neglect, but at a certain point, the body will reach a breaking point and start crying out for help!

What If?

Let’s play the “What If” game for a second. What if I had only visited a conventional physician and had simply decided to take medications to get rid of the symptoms? In the best-case scenario, my skin would have immediately improved with minimal drug side effects, but my nutrition would have continued to decline, leading to additional symptoms and serious disease. In the worst-case scenario, my skin would have continued to get worse, I would have needed more powerful drugs that would have caused more powerful side effects; my overall health would have continued to spiral downward; and I would have been left with a pile of medical bills.

Takeaways

There are a lot of people walking around with mild or severe symptoms that can be improved or alleviated by changing just a few simple habits. I hope that you are empowered and encouraged by this simple truth! If you take anything away from this post, I want to encourage you to take charge of your health by considering these three things:

1. Eat real, nourishing foods.

2. Consistently eliminate toxicity from your body and eliminate toxicity from your surrounding environment.

3. Use additional support like essential oils, health supplements, and a Functional Medicine practitioner.

I truly believe that almost every grave, chronic, “uncurable” disease can be managed or eliminated using natural tools that can help the body to heal itself. Don’t give up. True wellness might be just around the corner!

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I Tried Raw Milk

I was recently battling an itchy, painful skin condition (psoriasis?) on my hands for about five months. Because of my skin, I drastically changed my diet, read books about natural health, and saw some unconventional medical providers. In my quest to heal my skin, I came across raw (unpasteurized) milk. Wow! I didn’t know that raw milk was so controversial.

The Center for Disease Control makes raw milk sound super dangerous while raw milk advocates claim that it is a lot safer than other foods that we eat on a regular basis. While raw milk advocates claim that it is a complete superfood that is wonderful for allergy sufferers, the gut, skin, and immune system, raw milk antagonists claim that these benefits have not been proven. Raw milk advocates also claim that pasteurized milk (almost all the milk in the U.S.) has been stripped of the components that make it so healthy, and that the pasteurization process actually makes the milk unhealthy for us.

So, who should you believe? I’m not going to tell you that, but I will tell you about my experience with raw milk. The Natural Health Nut inside me had to try it!

First off, it wasn’t easy to find someone that sells raw milk (the sale of raw milk is illegal in some American states). When I finally found a vendor, my first experience with raw milk was raw goat milk. It was delicious!

To get my hands on raw cow milk, I went to the Weston A. Price website and contacted my local Weston A. Price chapter. Weston A. Price was a dentist that traveled the world and studied the eating habits of healthy people. If you are looking for raw milk, you can also go to realmilk.com.

The raw cow milk was very creamy and delicious. I also started consuming raw kefir and raw cheese. In the past, when I consumed pasteurized dairy, I used to experience nasal congestion. This didn’t happen to me when I consumed raw dairy!

You may be wondering if I am concerned about the safety of raw milk. Chris Kresser claims that the chances of becoming hospitalized from drinking raw milk are very small–you are actually three times more likely to die in a plane crash. 

With that being said, to be completely honest, there was one time that the raw kefir tasted funny and I had major stomach upset. But, to be fair, I ate some questionable meat on the same day. So, I don’t know if my stomach was upset due to the raw dairy or the meat.

I haven’t had raw milk or raw kefir in a couple of weeks. I miss it! I think that it is helping with my gut; also, my skin is almost completely healed! Because I made so many health changes in the past few months, it’s hard to tell which changes were the most beneficial for my recovery. Who knows? Maybe the raw milk played a role in healing my skin.

Want to know something really cool and odd? Apparently, there are Raw Milk vending machines in Europe!

So, what do you think? Do you drink raw milk, or do you think that it is too risky?

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