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Coconut Oil Natural Detox

     Coconut oil is an amazing way to detox your body inside and out.  At one time thought of as the villain, it's now known to be beneficial in many ways for the human body. Internally, it collects toxins and wastes and expels them from the body.  Externally it softens and moisturizes hair and skin.  It is largely comprised of medium-chain fatty acids, including the healthy fats, lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid.  So even though it is considered a saturated fat, it is the fats with long-chain fatty acids that present many health problems when ingested.  Who would have thought one food could do so many good things?  It's important to know the different ways coconut oils are processed when selecting one for your own use.  Not all types of coconut oils are good for you.   

    The best coconut oil is certified organic virgin that is cold-pressed.  Certified organic virgin expeller pressed is nearly the same, but slightly more heat is produced from the pressure and friction during extraction. One process commonly used for expeller pressed coconut oil is similar to that of a masticating juicer.  The coconut oil is pressed out of fresh raw coconuts by a spinning auger that separates the oil from the coconut meat.  Another way of producing expeller pressed oil is with the use of a centrifuge which generates varying amounts of heat but uses no external heat. Cold-pressed coconut oil processing uses a pressing unit similar to a vice to squeeze the coconut oil out of the coconut meat.  All are considered high quality coconut oils and retain much of their nutrient value.  Don't be fooled by companies claiming to sell extra virgin coconut oil.  That term only applies to oils such as olive which go through two pressings, the first being the extra virgin and the second being virgin.  Extra virgin does not apply to coconut oil as it does not go through the same type of dual processing.

     Refined coconut oil has lost many of its health benefits.  This type of oil is produced from copra, coconut meat dried by smoke, sun, or kiln drying.  Sometimes the drying process takes place under unsanitary conditions unfit for human consumption and the coconut meat must then be purified.  It must go through a filtering process to remove impurities and particles.  It is common during this filtration process to add bleaching agents or other solvents such as hexane which produce a tasteless, colorless, and odorless product. Unfortunately, traces of these chemicals are left behind in the final product.  Food coloring such as yellow is then often added for more appeal to give it the look of butter.  It then is sometimes subjected to high heat temperatures to hydrogenate or partially hydrogenate the final product for longer shelf life and higher cooking temperatures thus creating trans fatty acids.

     The high quality virgin coconut oils have a slight coconut taste to them because they still retain most the original properties of a fresh raw coconut.  If you can't tolerate the taste of coconut, refined coconut oil is available, but you sacrifice the positive health benefits for negative ones.  Unrefined quality coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees.  Refined coconut oil is sometimes used for higher temperature cooking such as deep frying.


Heart-cleanses the cardiovascular system

Cholesterol-raises cholesterol, but only the good (HDL) and stabilizes the bad (LDL)

Liver-medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) sent directly to the liver for efficient burning of energy

Metabolism-boosts metabolic rates for weight loss and targets body fat, especially abdomen

Blood sugar-helps to stabilize blood sugar levels

Immune system-helps to resist bacteria and viruses and produces antioxidants to battle free radicals 
Digestion-helps to maintain proper gut flora by killing bad bacteria, viruses, fungi and even parasites

Thyroid-helps to maintain proper thyroid function which helps to maintain lower cholesterol levels

Cellulite-MCFAs help in the breakdown of cellulite

Hair-outperforms many salon conditioners when used as a hair conditioner

Skin-Moisturizes and nourishes the skin and helps prevent stretch marks by improving elasticity

Candida-fights against yeast, fungus and candida infections

Shaving lotion-gives a close shave and moisturizes at the same time

Bath-put a small amount in warm bath water for an all over moisturizer

Scrub-add some sea salt or sugar for an invigorating scrub 

     So pop up some organic popcorn and pour some melted coconut oil over it with a sprinkle of sea salt. (Heat it slowly on the stove or place the container in hot water.  Never microwave it or you will lose the healthful nutrients.)  It is so delicious!  Did you know that theaters used it on their popcorn years ago until the saturated fats scare came about.  It was thought for many years that all saturated fats were the same.  Try dipping some fish in egg whites and panko bead crumbs and fry it in coconut oil.  This works well with chicken for healthy homemade chicken nuggets.  Stir some in your oatmeal for a creamier oatmeal with a slightly coconut taste.  Use it in baked goods and as a spread on anything you would normally use butter for. Some people enjoy it plain right out of the jar.  Enjoy!  It's good for you!

   As little as one to two tablespoons daily can provide many of the health benefits described above.  Like everything else we ingest coconut oil should be consumed in moderation.  Three tablespoons daily is an acceptable amount, but you may want to discuss it with your medical practitioner before you begin, especially if you are taking prescription drugs or have health issues. Those who go on strictly coconut oil diets, fasts, cleanses, and detoxes, and consume large amounts of coconut oil do so at their own risk.


Simple Sea Salt Detox

     Salt, that nasty thing we're supposed to stay away from, can be one of the best ways to detox both internally and externally.  Not all salts are bad for you as we've been lead to believe.  Salt exists in many different forms, just as it is mined and processed in many different ways.  Sea salt, epsom salt, kosher salt, rock salt, and of course table salt are the basic forms of salt available.  All of these salts range in variety from color, flavor and additives, to mineral content and crystalline structure and size.  When choosing a salt for detoxification, it's just as important to select the right type of salt as it is when choosing the proper medication for the type of malady being targeted.

     Salt is actually one of nature's many gifts to our health and well-being for without it life wouldn't exist. Although extracted from bodies of water the world over, most salts primarily consist of sodium chloride. However, in its natural state, salt also contains the many 80+ trace minerals our bodies need to survive. Just as we require oxygen and water for survival, salt produces the electrical impulses in our cells that make our bodies function properly and is an absolutely essential nutrient.  It helps to balance our metabolism and strengthen our immune system.   The conflict comes in when choosing among the multitude of varying qualities of salt. Let's have a look:


     As the name implies, sea salt comes from the many oceans and lakes around the world  Technically, all salt is sea salt.  All salt once touched water, either presently in lakes and oceans, or millions of years ago. Much of the sea salt on the market today is still collected by hand from the water and placed on screens to evaporate and dry in the sun.  Mechanical evaporation processing of sea salt still remains at a minimum. Other types of sea salt were already evaporated millions of years ago from previous bodies of water.  Their salts remain behind and are now mined at the surface of dried up lakes or in underground caverns.  Their varying colors are derived from natural elements found in the surrounding environment.  Sea salts contain many valuable trace minerals and have a coarse, crunchy texture and a somewhat stronger flavor.  Due to this texture and flavor, less is required for the same salty taste.  Sea salt with its lack of refinement and mineral content intact is the best salt for salt soaking baths.


     This one is a little trickier.  Although referred to as salt, it actually contains no sodium chloride.  It is primarily made up of magnesium sulfate.  It has a larger crystal structure similar to sea salt.  It is used in cooking, farming, manufacturing, as well as for medicinal purposes.  The sulfates flush toxins out of the body.  Two cups dissolved in bathwater act as a detoxifying agent and quickly relieve minor aches and pains.  The high content of magnesium is absorbed into the body and is a much needed nutrient.  Most people today are found to have very low levels of magnesium.


     This salt was developed in accordance with Jewish dietary laws for the preparation of kosher meats.  It is unrefined and has no additives.  During the evaporation process it is continuously raked to form multi block-like crystalline structures. This gives the salt more body and texture.  This larger surface area allows kosher salt to cling to food longer.  When curing meats, it is more efficient at drawing out  the blood.  Because of its larger surface area it is less dense and more flakey.  Chefs prefer this coarser grain for pinching and sprinkling with ease and accuracy.  Kosher salt weighs less by volume so the amount must be increased when substituting for table salt.  It takes nearly one tablespoon of kosher salt to equal one teaspoon of table salt.  Since it is a lighter salt, there is less of an aftertaste with it.  Though not normally used as a soaking salt, kosher salt is good for cooking with as it is unadulterated.

     Rock salt, also known as halite, is another form of sodium chloride.  Minimally refined, these larger crystals are used for deicing roads, driveways and sidewalks in winter months.  Culinary use includes mechanical ice cream makers, and as a bed for shellfish presentation.  These salt crystals are naturally colorless, white or may sometimes have a grayish hue.  Being less refined it still retains the mineral content that is removed from table salt.  Rock salt is not normally used for soaking due to its large crystalline structure.


     Table salt on the other hand is highly refined and processed rock salt.  This is the salt that gives salt a bad rap.  It is ground finer and heated during processing and stripped of its mineral content.  It gets its pure white appearance through bleaching. Additives such as aluminum hydroxide, magnesium carbonate, or sodium of prussia are then used to prevent the salt from clumping and allow it to freely flow through the tiny holes in the salt shaker,  Some of these additives have questionable effects on our health.  Synthetic iodine is added to some table salts to prevent goiter or swelling of the thyroid gland which was much more prevalent before the addition of iodine to table salt.  Table salt should never be used as a bath salt due to its questionable qualities and refinements.  The point of taking a salt bath is to remove toxins, not add more. Personally, you wouldn't find it on my table either. 

      So now you can see that the best salts for soaking are sea salts and epsom salts.  Lactic acid builds up in muscle tissue during exercise and strenuous activities causing soreness and stiffness.  The skin being the largest organ of our body, salt is absorbed into the bloodstream where it gathers up lactic acid and other toxins which are then pushed out through the pores.  Salt soaking baths are therapeutic in many ways. They help to:

                                                           1.  Relieve stress
                                                           2.  Improve skin disorders
                                                           3.  Reduce muscle pain and inflammation
                                                           4.  Relieve insomnia
                                                           5.  Improve circulation
                                                           6.  Expel toxins from the body
                                                           7.  Reduce joint pain due to arthritis

   Salt baths can be made up of sea salt, epsom salt or a combination of the two.  Sea salt is alkaline and helps to lower the acidity of the body.  If you are lacking in magnesium, it is best to include some epsom salts.  Try a cup of each dissolved in a warm bathtub of water and soak for 20 to 30 minutes.  For extra relaxation add a few drops of pure lavender essential oil diluted in a teaspoon of carrier oil such as the ones listed below. Even olive oil works. You'll feel invigorated and refreshed.

     You can also make an exfoliating salt scrub with one cup of sea salt, 1/2 cup of one of the following oils, and a few drops of essential oils.  Massage it into your skin before showering or bathing to rejuvenate your skin.  This will make enough for a few applications so store it tightly covered.

   *** Jojoba oil *** Coconut oil *** Sweet almond oil *** Grape Seed oil *** Avocado oil *** Olive oil ***

Note:  Instructions for internal salt water cleanses and flushes can be found on the internet but should never be attempted without professional medical supervision due to possible side effects.


Heal Your Mind and Body with Pure Fresh Water

Heal your mind and body by avoiding dehydration and flushing toxins with pure water and electrolytes to avoid diseases like heart disease, dementia, diabetes, allergies and asthma, and depression.
Photo by Mike Kelly

     One of the best things you can do for healing and detoxing your body is to drink plenty of water.  Dehydration can lead to many diseases that could easily have been prevented. Our bodies are made up of approximately 70% water which needs replenishing every day. Not only will you feel better when your body is hydrated, but your skin will reflect a clear and healthy glow.  Also, you will find yourself thinking more clearly.  That's because our brains are made up of over 90% water.  Think about it.  A dried up, shriveling brain won't do you much good in the middle of an exam or when you are trying to remember where you left your keys.

     An estimated 75% of the U.S. population suffers daily in varying states of dehydration.  Often the symptoms go unnoticed until the mouth becomes dry signaling a need for water.  Unfortunately, by the time the tissues in the mouth become dry, the person is already 2-3 glasses of water below what their body requires to sustain and heal itself.  Dry mouth is one of the last symptoms.  Taking a few sips of water relieves the dryness in the mouth, but accomplishes nothing in alleviating the damage being done to the cells in the body.  When trying to figure out how much pure water your body requires to stay hydrated the following formula works for most people.  Just drink a little more when exercising or perspiring excessively, or when drinking dehydrating liquids like coffee, tea or alcohol.

                                                         Your body weight divided by 2 =
                                                         the number of ounces of pure water 
                                                         you should drink every day in addition
                                                         to other beverages. 

                           Example:  200 lbs. divided by 2 = 100 oz. water per day

33 ml. per kg. of body weight

                        Example:  90 kg. x 33 ml. = 2970 ml. water per day

     Choosing more flavorful drinks over water only aggravates the problem.  Coffee, tea, sugar-laden sodas, and alcohol all serve as diuretics and lead to further dehydration.  Some medications are diuretics and can cause dehydration.  Though the brain takes priority over other parts of the body when it comes to water, that minor nagging headache may turn into a migraine as the brain starts to dehydrate from further lack of water. Fatigue increases along with anxiety and lightheadedness.  Dehydration is not only fluid loss, but valuable salt and nutrient loss as well.  Pure water contains the minerals we need to fire up electrical impulses required by the cells in our bodies to survive.  

     These electrolyte minerals are necessary because cells (especially nerve, heart and muscle cells) use them to maintain electrical charges across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, muscle contractions, etc.) across themselves and to other cells.  Cell membranes surround each cell, enclosing their contents.  Water delivers nutrients and carries wastes away from these cell membranes. When dehydration occurs, toxins build up inside the membrane.  Excessive toxins are suspended in a sludge-like state waiting to be carried away.  Blood begins to thicken and cannot flow freely.

     Progressive dehydration can trigger the onset of a host of other diseases which left unchecked can lead to irreversible damage to the cells and body as a whole. When the body runs out of emergency water storages it goes into repair mode in an attempt to undo the damage caused by dehydration.  This can lead to an over production of cholesterol which the body uses to repair cells.  Suddenly the immune system goes into a state of alert causing a rise in the production of histamines.  The brain is no longer able to produce hormones efficiently and they become unbalanced.  Lower heart rate proceeds to higher heart rate in a desperate attempt to pump the thicker blood throughout the body.  Insulin levels begin to rapidly fluctuate creating low blood sugar which further progresses to high blood sugar levels as dehydration continues to assault the entire system.  So now we've managed to trigger the start of high cholesterol, angina, heart disease, asthma and allergies, diabetes and hormonal imbalance.  If allowed to continue long enough, it will eventually affect the brain, causing possible dementia, worsening Alzheimer's, as well as other memory disorders and depression.  In extreme cases kidney failure, seizures, coma and even death can occur.

     All of this trauma to the brain and body because that glass of water seemed just too boring sitting next to that cup of coffee or soda pop.  Well guess what? That glass of water doesn't have to be boring.

     There's lots of things you can do to jazz up your water.  Instead of buying artificially flavored soda pop laden with sugars and artificial sweeteners, why not squeeze your own real fruit into a glass of cool, fresh water.  Just be sure you are using water from a trusted source or filter your own.  Add a couple slices of lemons, limes, or oranges or mix it up.  Even though they are acidic, citrus fruits actually help to maintain an alkaline body.  Cucumbers sliced in the water are so refreshing.  Add a sprig of fresh mint for even more flavor.  

     Better yet, buy yourself an inexpensive water infuser and cut up the fruit of your choice, a different flavor every day.  Mango, papaya, grapefruit, or watermelon on a hot summer day etc.  When you drink the water it is drawn through the fruit in the infuser and gives the water a naturally enhanced fruit flavor that refreshes so much more than heavy, sugary sweet drinks.  Infusers and recipe books available online are shown at the end of this article.

Add fruits like lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, papaya, watermelon, and mango to a water bottle with an infuser to make water tastier and healthier to prevent diseases, and strengthen the immune system to relieve asthma and allergy symptoms.

     So you're feeling the urge for that cup of coffee, tea, or soda, or even a glass of wine in the evening to relax.   There's nothing wrong with indulging in your favorite beverages.  Just do your mind and body a favor and drink down an extra glass of water before or in between that next cup of coffee or glass of wine.  And don't skip your daily water requirement.  Remember to drink half your body weight in ounces of water.  Your body will love you for it and will reward you with better health and vitality.  Not to mention, next time you'll know exactly where you left those keys, and you might just be on time or score an 'A' on that exam.



Drugs in Our Tap Water

Pharmaceutical drugs and over-the-counter medicines are being discovered in our drinking water supplies.

     Drugs have become a major source of toxic pollution to our drinking water resources. It's no wonder as we've become a pill-popping society.  It seems there's a pill or drug available for every ailment out there.  New and debatable drugs come to market every day. Whether or not they assist in treating the majority of our maladies is questionable. Nonetheless, we continuously seek new pharmaceuticals in the hope of being miraculously cured.  If there was a drug to prevent a hangnail, you can be sure someone out there would take it.

Pharmaceutical drugs and over-the-counter medicines are leeching into our drinking water, lakes, streams and rivers and causing mutations in mammals, fish and other wildlife.

     We all make choices.  People are free to ingest whatever their physician might prescribe or even more freely to take over-the-counter drugs at will.  Pharmaceutical companies are making sure we have plenty of choices to make.  Analgesics, antibiotics, statins, steroids, antidepressants, anticoagulants, contraceptive pills and the list goes on.  The problem is that maybe the guy down the street isn't worried about hangnails and you aren't seeking antibiotics to fight infections you don't have or antidepressants for depression you're not suffering from. Worried about your cholesterol levels?  Maybe you should drink more tap water.

     The problem is that more and more drugs are turning up in our drinking water because most water municipalities don't have the capabilities of filtering them out of our water.  Could they be filtered out?  Most certainly.  But being cost prohibitive, it isn't likely to happen anytime soon.  Once again, we're forced to take matters into our own hands.  Residential water filtration for pharmaceutical drugs comes at a high cost. Bottled water is an option, but only if you can be certain of the safety of the source.

     The most highly recommended method of filtering tap water is reverse osmosis in combination with activated charcoal.  This will filter out just about anything that might be lurking in your water.  The problem lies in the expense. The initial installation of a reverse osmosis filteration system is simply not affordable for everyone, and the need to replace charcoal filters fairly frequently further adds to the cost. However, those purchasing bottled water by the case every week would quickly recoup their cost.  This would also prevent a lot of empty water bottles landing in our lakes and landfills creating their own set of problems and pollution. There is one other major drawback to some reverse osmosis water filteration systems.  Many older and less expensive RO systems waste incredible amounts of water to attain adequate purity levels.  As much as three gallons of water are wasted to achieve one purified gallon of water.  Newer RO systems have recently come to the market that promise zero waste. Something to look into if you are paying a water bill, not to mention the fact that potable water is swiftly becoming a precious commodity.  We don't need to be unnecessarily wasting it.  There are a couple examples of zero waste RO systems shown at the bottom of the page as well as one that can be retrofitted to older systems to conserve water.

     Unused drugs should never be flushed down the toilet.  Proper disposal of unused drugs would go a long way to prevent some of the contamination of our water supply.  Simply return any unused over-the-counter or prescription medications to a participating collection pharmacy.  They are then sorted for proper disposal or redistribution to third world countries in need of them.

     Drugs for pain, infections, high cholesterol, seizures, allergies, asthma, heart ailments, birth control are all showing up in our lakes, rivers and streams and finding their way into our drinking water supply.  More and more drugs are being prescribed not only for humans, but for farm animals and pets as well.  From snails to whales, hormonal drugs and other chemicals that mimic estrogen are affecting egg and sperm production in fish and other aquatic life.  In many areas around the world male fish are becoming feminized and producing eggs instead of sperm.  These gender-bender hormonal drugs and chemicals are affecting other wildlife as well.  Increasingly, many species of mammals are being found with both male and female sex organs or hermaphroditic traits.

     A wide variety of pharmaceuticals are being discovered in the drinking water supplies of major metropolitan areas.  The Safe Drinking Water Act was passed in 1974, requiring cities  to report contaminants in drinking water to their citizens.  Pharmaceutical drugs are not covered by this act as they are not yet on the EPA's list of hazards.  Private wells serving 25 or fewer individuals are not regulated.  It is up to the individuals to have them tested.  Some of the larger cities tests results can be researched online. Many cities don't test for pharmaceutical drugs or don't release results for fear of causing panic that may or may not be justified.  Risks are as of yet unknown for low levels of pharmaceutical drugs ingested over lengthy time periods or possibly even several decades.  Many prescribed drugs are intended for short time periods.  Some scientists believe they are harmless while others believe the possible risks justify further research.


Clouds, Contrails, and Chemtrails in Our Sky

     Is it a cloud?  Is it a contrail from a jet airliner?  Is it a chemtrail? Or perhaps you didn't even notice.  It's a known fact that the vast majority of people generally don't look up unless there's a reason to do so. The average person pays no attention to the sky unless they're going on an outdoor excursion and the sky grows dark.  And it's no wonder.  In today's busy world of multi-tasking we never seem to run out of eye level tasks whether it be the computer, the children or preparing meals.  So the next time you're outside take a quick look at the sky.  You might just catch a glimpse of those 'clouds' streaking or crisscrossing the sky like a tic-tac-toe board.   They've been seen all over the world since the early 1990's.  Cloud, contrail, chemtrail.  Contrails aren't something that can be turned on and off as shown in this video.  Read on and decide for yourself if you really want to be outside when this is occurring.

     Those in authority would have us believe these streaks in the sky are nothing more than normal contrails from airplane engine exhaust.  Unless there's a scheduled air show in your area, it's not likely.  If it were an air show you would see their trails dissipate rapidly, not hang in the air and spread over the course of several hours turning the sky into a murky haze.  Pilots in air shows normally fly straight in unison to avoid crashing.  Seems logical to me.  So why are these streaks all over the place going in every direction?  Well anyways, that's their side of the story.  Next theory please.

     Now on the chemtrail side we have many suggestions.  We'll start with weather modification.  Nowadays they like to call it 'Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering' or 'persistent contrails'.  Many countries are now admittedly involved in weather modification.  Unfortunately, it's mostly used for their own dire purposes rather than the benefit of mankind as indicated by the chemicals dispersed.  Metals such as silver and aluminum oxide, chemicals such as barium, sulfur dioxide, and calcium chloride, as well as polymers, fungi and bacteria are found in these dispersals.  Chemtrails are identified by their high degree of persistence and slow spreading.  Some people have even witnessed them containing a rainbow when sunlit.  Perhaps the most well known incidence of weather modification through seed clouding is the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Seed clouding was accomplished from the ground by the firing of rockets packed with silver iodide crystals into rain clouds which created downpours in the surrounding suburbs.

     As you can imagine this type of weather modification can have detrimental effects on one's health.  For those already afflicted with asthma, outdoor activities during heavy spraying can further aggravate their condition.  Furthermore, some medical professionals have drawn the conclusion that inhaling these varying particles may be contributing to the upsurge in the number of asthmatics by those who never previously experienced symptoms of respiratory distress.

     Lawsuits are popping up everywhere by those who believe their rain is being 'stolen' by weather modification and seed clouding especially by those in the farming industry.  After all, there is only so much precipitation available.  If you make it rain heavily in one area it is bound to be dry in the surrounding areas. There is even much speculation that those in charge of modifying weather patterns are either purposely or inadvertently causing the extreme weather conditions around the world.  This would include everything from droughts and flooding to tornadoes, hurricanes and hailstorms.  Perhaps even the record snowfalls being recorded as well as earthquakes.

     Another theory is the need to slow down or halt the escalating temperature of our planet known as global warming.  Studies are currently underway, termed 'solar radiation management' (SRM), where particles of sulphate are pumped into the stratosphere in an effort to reflect incoming sunlight away from our planet.  Ongoing studies are also investigating ways of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere. Sulfate aerosol spraying could have negative effects on all living organisms as it is a known environmental hazard. Those with sulfur allergies are especially at risk and it can be an eye and skin irritant to anyone. Although it has been in use for decades, further studies are needed to investigate the global impact as well as the actual influence on the temperature of our planet overall.  Other particulates being used to reflect sunlight include aluminum oxide, barium and strontium.  Aluminum toxicity is being investigated as a possible cause of autism, ADHD, and Alzheimer's.  Barium and strontium are toxic to life as well.

     Just changing our beautiful blue sky into an overcast murky gray can have serious consequences. Depending upon the quantity dispersed, filtering sunlight can also effect plant growth negatively. Plant life depends on photosynthesis.  Soil composition is being radically modified.  Water is being poisoned.  People who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), will experience further depression.  What can we do about it? 


Swimming Pool Sanitation Techniques & Health Issues

Indoor swimming pools are more likely to trap noxious gases and chloramines in the surrounding environment which can lead to negative health consequences such as eye irritations, dermatitis, asthma, and even miscarriages, birth defects, and cancer.

     There's nothing quite like a dip in the pool on a hot summer day to cool you off. Temperature's high.  Humidity's high.  And, according to the weatherman's prediction, no relief in sight for the next several days.  Especially after a grueling day of yard work that could no longer be put off.   Or perhaps you just finished a round of golf or a baseball game.  Maybe even just sunbathing got your internal temperature soaring.  Not to worry.  A dip in the pool is just what the doctor ordered. Or is it?

     Chlorine is a popular sanitizer for pool water because it kills bacteria and germs.  It also oxidizes organic debris and helps to keep algae in check.  Unfortunately, chlorine is rapidly absorbed through the skin.  You can test this for yourself if you have a pool test kit.  Fill a small glass with chlorinated tap water or chlorinated pool water and test the chlorine content.  Now swish your finger in it for 15-20 seconds and retest.  Virtually no chlorine remains.  Children's skin is even more vulnerable as it absorbs toxins more quickly.

     Chlorine and its byproducts negative health effects are determined by multiple variables.  Overly chlorinated pools will of course cause more negative chlorine effects than a pool that is properly balanced. Absorption of chlorine occurs from breathing pool water vapors, swallowing pool water or skin contact with pool water.  One of the main variables would be time spent in the pool. Although an occasional dip in the backyard pool is most likely harmless in a well balanced pool; those who spend more time in commercial pools, especially swimming athletes, are more susceptible to health issues.  Anything from red eyes and skin irritations to miscarriages, birth defects and cancer are being blamed on chlorine these days. But chlorine itself isn't the only culprit.

     An under chlorinated pool is releasing toxic gases into the air.  That overwhelming smell of chlorine isn't what you think it is.  When a pool smells strongly of chlorine it's a reaction of the chlorine with bacteria, urine, sweat, and fecal contaminants, which creates chloramines and releases other noxious gases at the surface of the water.  Leaves and other organic materials that fall into an outdoor pool over burden the sanitation system as well.  It actually means the pool is exceptionally dirty and needs to be rebalanced.  This is achieved through mega dosing of chlorine, shocking, ionizers, and repeated testing.  A perfectly balanced pool is odorless.  Toxic gases are released when a pool is out of balance and can cause eye and respiratory irritations, dermatitis, and even eventually asthma after repeated exposure.  Not to mention Giardia, E. Coli, and Cryptosporodium are just some of the parasites that spread rapidly in pools with low pH levels and insufficient chlorine to sanitize the water.  Symptoms of these illnesses include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dehydration and stomach cramps.

     Another factor to consider is the number of people in the pool.  An over crowded pool is is a heavy burden on the amount of chlorine or other sanitizing methods employed.  The more organic and inorganic debris brought into the pool, the quicker the sanitizing set up becomes over burdened.  So if you see a pool that seems overcrowded, you should probably avoid it.  A commercial pool that doesn't require showering before entry is bringing in unnecessary contaminants such as lotions, hair spray, perfumes, deodorants, and additional sweat.  Of course, an outdoor pool on a sunny day can expect a heavy load of suntan lotions. 

     So the level of chlorine dosing is important, but another huge variable is whether or not the pool is located indoors or outdoors.  When a pool is located indoors, even those who never enter the pool are being exposed to these toxic gases.  Trapped indoors without adequate ventilation and low ceilings, pool attendants are at risk as well as those lounging around the pool.  High peaked ceilings are preferable to low ceilings which trap gases closer to the surface of the water.  Adequate ventilation systems should be employed at all times.  Children under the age of six become even more vulnerable when placed in the shallow areas of pools which are often times even hotter and more heavily polluted than larger ones.  The warmer the water, the more quickly the chlorine dissipates.  Also, children's areas are usually smaller; therefore, more likely to be overcrowded.  So an outdoor pool is an obvious choice for avoiding heavier concentrations of chloramines.

Indoor pools should provide adequate ventilation systems and keep doors and windows open to allow noxious gases and chloramines to escape from the pool areas.

     Bromine is another chemical sanitizer for pools.  Though similar to chlorine for sanitizing pool water, it is considerably more expensive than chlorine for obtaining the same results.  Nowadays, it is mostly used in spas because it takes longer to break down than chlorine in the higher water temperatures of hot tubs and has less of an odor.  Unfortunately, it is considered even more carcinogenic than chlorine.

     Saline or salt water pool sanitation has really moved to the forefront of pool sanitizing techniques. Perhaps it sounds natural or 'green'.  Whatever the reason, people are jumping on the bandwagon looking for salt solutions to eliminate chlorination.  The funny thing is, this process uses a chlorine generator or salt cell which utilizes electrolysis to break down the salt creating a chemical reaction which produces chlorine. So salt water pools are not chlorine free pools.  On the upside, the constant delivery of the salt in a well maintained and balanced pool eliminates harmful chloramines.  The downside is the initial cost, high maintenance, and expensive salt cell replacements.  Without careful maintenance, salt cells are easily damaged and too much salt can cause corrosion and damage to pools and improperly sealed cement and pavement.  Pool builders require liability wavers for salt corrosion damage.

     Ionizers are becoming a popular method for sanitizing pools and spas.  This method uses copper and/or silver to kill germs in pools.  Though it works well as a sanitizer you will still need an oxidizer against organic particulates such as chlorine or shock.  Also, unless kept perfectly balanced, the metals from the ionizer can stain the inside of the pool and accessories as well as plaster and cement.  They also have the disadvantage of contributing heavy metals into the environment during water exchanges and have been banned in some areas.

     Another popular method is the use of an ozonator.  Although useful as a sanitizer, they also cannot be used as a stand alone solution and are somewhat more expensive.  On the plus side, dramatically lower levels of chlorine are required, and chloramines are completely eliminated.  Some people claim the water has a crisper, brighter look to it. There are two types of ozone generators used in the pool industry.  UV in which ultraviolet light is used to create ozone; or CD which uses corona discharge or electricity, much like a thunderstorm, to create ozone.  The CD ozone generators are preferable as they are much more powerful than UV types.

     UV treatment of pool water without creating ozone is becoming more popular, but is as yet cost prohibitive.  Depending upon the size of the pool a good UV pool unit can cost from just under a thousand dollars to as much as $3,500.  The use of chlorine is greatly reduced, and unlike chlorine alone, provides consistent oxidizing of organic materials as the UV light is continuously cleaning the water.  Small amounts of chlorine are still required for residual sanitation.  With chlorine alone, the levels swing up and down depending on how quickly the chlorine is used up before the next dose.  (Studies are being done in several countries on UV treatment combined with chlorine that may cause the release of an even more harmful gas, cyangen chloride or mustard gas.)

Indoor pools should provide adequate ventilation systems as well as high peaked roofs to reduce the risk of negative health impacts due to trapped noxious gases and chloramines at the pool water's surface.

Indoor pools should have high peaked ceilings to allow gases to rise higher away from the surface of the water to protect swimmers' and non swimmers' health.
     All of these methods of pool sanitation need researching when deciding upon building a pool.  They all have pros and cons.  Thoroughly researching all methods before deciding could save a lot of time and money, not to mention preventing some health issues.  But for those just looking to swim occasionally at your local pool there are just a few things to consider.  Is it an indoor or outdoor pool? Outdoor pools have the benefit of freely off-gassing into the atmosphere.  If it is indoors, can you still smell the chlorine 60 seconds after entering the building or do your eyes burn?  If the answer to either of these is yes at any pool, you should leave immediately, especially if you have young children with you.  Maybe a picnic would be better choice for today.  At least until you find a pool that is better maintained.  Or maybe even better yet...



Summertime Sunshine Safety Precautions

People need to protect themselves from the harmful UVA rays of the sun with chemical free natural sunscreens to prevent endocrine disruptors and cancer while benefiting from the UVB rays which provide vitamin D..

     It's summertime again and everyone wants that great looking bronze skinned suntan look, not to mention a good healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun to protect us from all kinds of diseases. But we need to look into how to do this without causing more harm than good.   Chemical sunscreens have been around for a long time, but more and more natural sunscreens and sunblocks are coming onto the market as more people shy away from harmful, even cancer causing chemicals found in today's sunscreens.  It's best to avoid chemically laden endocrine disrupting sunscreen products.  When sunbathing the goal is to reflect the harmful UVA rays and absorb the beneficial UVB rays that provide our bodies with vitamin D.  The only way to accomplish this is through the use of sunscreens that provide UV protection without blasting our bodies with an overload of chemicals easily absorbed through our skin.

     The middle of the day is the most likely time to get a sunburn when the sun is at its highest position. Somewhere between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. depending on where you live.  The closer you are to the equator, the stronger the suns rays.  Also, altitude plays a role as well as reflective surfaces like water, concrete and those white sandy beaches we all love.  Even snow reflects more of the suns rays, but hopefully not too many people are exposing a lot of skin wearing bathing suits in snowy regions.  Of course, skiers and snowmobilers need to protect their faces.  The UV index of the day can be helpful as well.
     There are all kinds of recipes on the internet for making your own chemical free sunscreens.  You should be aware of some of the suggested ingredients.  One common recommendation is to use coconut oil alone. This may work for some people and not for others.  It depends on your skin type and whether or not your skin is conditioned to being in the sun.  The duration of sunbathing is important as well.  Not very many tanning products allow for anyone to be in the sun for hours and hours unless it is reapplied often.  Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours at minimum. Even at that you could still suffer some skin damage from the sun if you stay out all day without taking a break in the shade once in awhile.  The time of day matters again as well.  The type of coconut oil is important as well.  It must be unrefined, virgin coconut oil.  Refined, heated coconut oils have lost their beneficial properties for the skin.  Also, coconut oil has a very low SPF rating. So unless you're already a 'seasoned' sunbather, I wouldn't rely on coconut oil alone.  The following ingredients can be added to the coconut oil or other safe oils like virgin olive or avocado to create pleasantly scented and safer sunscreen.  When making your own sunscreen, you can add an ounce or two of beeswax to provide some waterproof protection.

     Some sunscreen recipes suggest the use of essential oils to scent the lotion.  The use of the wrong essential oil can be a grave mistake.  Photosensitizing essential oils such as those in the citrus family can cause permanently darkened skin spots and other discolorations of the skin.  If you have recently used any of those oils on your skin it's best to stay out of the sun for 12 or even 24 hours just to be sure.  Some steam distilled citrus oils are okay such as orange, but lemon and lime remains photo toxic whether cold pressed or steam distilled.  Bergamot oil is another nicely scented oil, but is photo toxic unless certified bergaptene-free and labeled as Bergamot FCF.  So if you're going to scent your lotion it's best to do your homework and be sure you are using a safe essential oil such as lavender.  Or you can add some lemon eucalyptus for the added benefit of bug repellent.  It's non-photosensitizing and it only takes a few drops.

     Some oils extracted from seeds and nuts, such as those in raspberries or macadamia nuts, provide varying amounts of UV protection and can be used as the base oil in sunscreen recipes. Some examples are  red raspberry seed oil (SPF 28-50), carrot seed oil (SPF 38-40), soybean oil (SPF 10), wheat germ oil (SPF 20), jojoba oil (SPF 4), macadamia nut oil (SPF 6), and soybean oil (SPF 10).

     And last but not least, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two natural mineral ingredients used to block the harmful rays of the sun.  Even these ingredients warrant investigation when it comes to nano particles.  Whereas the use of these minerals in sunscreens previously left a pale, ghostly look when applied to the skin, newer manufacturing technology resolved this issue. Through the use of nano technology the particles are broken down very small.  This process not only provides better UV protection, but alleviates the chalky look to the skin after application as well.  Sounds good, but now the safety of nano zinc oxide and nano titanium dioxide are being questioned.  So far it 'appears' to be safe when applied to 'healthy' skin.  When used in powder or spray products the safety is definitely being studied as a respiratory toxicant.  For those with allergies and asthma, it's not worth the risk.  So you might just want to play it safe and look for products with non-nano zinc oxide and non-nano titanium dioxide. Of the two, regular zinc oxide still appears the safest because it reflects and scatters UV rays rather than absorbing them like titanium dioxide.  Both are available online in non-nano formulations for making your own sunscreen.

Sunshine provides us with vitamin D produced through beneficial UVB rays.


Give Your Dad a Smile for Father's Day

When you smile and laugh endorphins are released in your body relieving stress, increasing blood flow and boosting your immune system.


     Everyone knows it's better to smile than to frown, but did you know it can be a holistic approach to better health overall as well?  Not only can it improve your mental health but also your physical body by reducing tension and releasing endorphins.  It even increases blood flow for cardiovascular protection.  Laughing makes you feel better and gets you through those tough times.  Smiling and laughing actually boosts your immune system. So smile and laugh your cares away.

Need a reason to smile?

                                     Watch a funny Youtube:

                                              Dentist dad-Wisdom teeth removal
                                              Golfer dad-Fox chasing golfball
                                              Olympic swimmer dad-High diving giraffes
                                              Cat owner dad-Paralyzed cat
                                              Auto repair dad-Changing flat tire


                                     Download a free animated smiley screensaver or funny wallpaper.

                                     Watch a good comedy together on Father's Day.

                                     Buy your dad a good joke book or joke-of-the-day calendar.

                                     Take your dad to a comedy club.

                                     Try some 'laughing yoga' classes.

     So think of something pleasant while working, driving or relaxing and work those smile muscles. The more you practice, the easier it becomes.  You'll find your mood improving along with your zest for life.  Laughing even helps to reduce pain.  Melt away that tension and soon you'll find yourself 
laughing away life's little stressors and feeling better overall.

The act of smiling or laughing relaxes the body and provides many health benefits providing stress relief.