Issue 53, March 2013
Welcome to Issue 53 of our Newsletter
Warm weather really IS right around the corner! Nature is waking up. Buds are popping up everywhere. Are you ready to bust open with renewed energy and vigor too?
I honestly believe there is no better way to kick off a new spring – and a renewed commitment to wellness – than an Inflammation Cleanse. It’s like a reboot for your entire body – and an opportunity to get rid of accumulated toxins that we all bring on board living in modern society. Mercury, chlorine, BPA, arsenic, pthalates, bromine, chlorofluorocarbons… In this month’s issue, I introduce you to two more that might surprise you. Unaddressed toxicity predisposes us to cancer, diabetes, and a whole host of auto-immune diseases. But more immediately, it just plain makes us feel bad! I see this in my clients every day.
Join us for my Ultimate Spring Cleanse program, and let me help. Clean out the mucus, congestion, and gunk, lose a few pounds, get rid of aches’n'pains, and be ready for a light, active, inflammation-free summer. This is a virtual program, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. (This program always sells out quickly, so if the opportunity resonates with you, don’t wait to register.)
Please don’t put off feeling better! The cleanse webinars are information-packed. I’ll show you where toxins are hiding in your lifestyle choices. And I’ll show you how to sustain your breakthroughs long-term. I know from unsolicited raves that this experience really can be life-changing. Life is too short not to feel fantastic.
Grocery Check-Out Caution
Bottom line: there’s a new player on the estrogen mimicker stage that I want you to look out for: BPS. But first let me give you some background…
Last month’s reader question motivated several of you to send more questions about estrogen dominance in women (of which rough PMS is a common symptom). One of the largest reasons we struggle these days with hormone balance is because of widespread, daily exposure to thousands of chemicals. On our food, in our personal hygiene products, on our furniture, in the air we breathe… Since World War II, over 75,000 new chemicals have been introduced into commercial use. And despite our assumptions otherwise, almost none of these have been thoroughly tested for impact on human physiology.
One of the most insidious public threats is from specific chemicals called estrogen mimickers. These endocrine (hormone) disrupters fit into estrogen receptors on our cells and cause effects just like the body’s natural hormones would. Even at very low doses, these chemicals can override our body’s natural hormone balance and detoxification systems. (Typically estrogen in the female body is measured in picograms/ml; that’s parts per trillion!) Regular exposure to these chemicals can cause a dangerous increase in the body’s estrogen load – potentially toxic to both men and women. In my March 2010 issue, I wrote about the overall threat of estrogen mimickers. Unfortunately, there are thousands of chemicals in this category!
In my December 2009 issue, I warned you in particular about the dangers of bisphenol-A (BPA), a potent estrogen mimicker found in most food can linings, some plastic wraps, and plastic cups and containers (labeled #7 in the little recycling triangle). A few years ago, we also began learning more about BPA’s potential contribution to diabetes and heart disease. Since that time, many people have become savvy about how to avoid BPA. Instead of plastic water bottles, choose stainless steel or glass-lined models. If you use canned foods, avoid all acidic foods (e.g. tomatoes – buy them in glass) and make sure you rinse the contents thoroughly before using; otherwise, choose whole, fresh foods wherever possible.
Unfortunately, chemical manufacturers have been quick to offer a BPA alternative called Bisphenol-S (BPS). Products using BPS as a plastic coating are often labeled “BPA-free”, giving users a false sense of security. Because new studies are beginning to show that BPS has potentially the same estrogen-mimicking risk as BPA. Unfortunately, the story gets worse because BPS is nearly twenty times more easily absorbed through human skin than BPA (yes, 20!). And a place where you are likely being exposed daily is in the grocery checkout aisle: on cash register receipts. Thermally-sensitive receipt paper (found in almost all major retail establishments) uses BPS as a lubricant to keep the paper roll from sticking to itself. A recent study found BPS on all receipt samples measured. Whenever possible, I recommend you avoid taking any receipts you don’t truly need. Or take them with a tissue in hand and place them all in a ziploc bag for retrieval if/when you need them (and have a chance to wash your hands immediately after handling).
I know: it’s frustrating news. It seems every day we learn of a new hidden toxin to beware of in order to keep ourselves and our families healthy. We can do our best to avoid exposure, but in truth, we are all still absorbing a substantial cocktail of chemicals every day. Remember the best offense is a good defense: support your body to be a fantastic detoxifier! I think this is the best approach to avoiding toxic build-up as a precursor to chronic disease, especially cancer. Xenoestrogens are cleared from the body via liver detoxification using a process (conjugation) called glucuronidation. A type of E coli that builds up in our GI tracts produces an enzyme that readily interferes with this clearance process. For those particularly concerned about estrogen build-up and hormonal cancer risk, you can help the body with this clearance by taking a daily full-spectrum probiotic and also calcium d-glucarate (e.g. 400mg twice daily).
Doing a seasonal cleanse is a great way to help your body to “clean house” and boost your liver’s detoxification ability overall – to clear many different types of toxins, including xenoestrogens. I do these cleanses twice a year without fail – in the spring and fall, and my next one can be right along with you! Consider joining us this year for the Ultimate Spring Cleanse – a powerful jump start to a lighter, more energetic summer and overall future.
Paraben Wake-up Call?
Holy crap – I read your article about PMS and some of the links about all these things that act like estrogen. All I can say is I am stunned. Mostly because I started looking at the ingredients on all my personal products. One that showed up a lot is different types of parabens. Is this a particularly powerful kind of estrogen mimicker? I’m trying to find alternatives that I like, but it’s hard to know what brands are safe.
Awake and Alert
Great question! Yes, parabens are ubiquitious chemical preservatives. Methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, butylparaben and benzylparaben are most common. There has been quite a bit of research into paraben toxicity and hormonal impact, and at least initial results are mixed. Yes, parabens are estrogenic. Parabens can indeed be found in human breast tumor tissue, so we know they are absorbed and (at least to some extent) migrate to estrogen-sensitive tissue. Yet broad-based research into toxicity has turned up mostly empty-handed. I think much research on a single toxin ends up being convoluted by our individual vulnerability to hormone imbalance, detoxification capability, and contributing inflammatory factors elsewhere in the body. My personal philosophy is proactively not putting any avoidable chemicals in my body – even while we are still figuring out which ones are the most harmful. Because the skin acts very much like a large mouth, it’s important to consider the additive effect of the many products we use in our daily routine…shampoo, conditioner, soap, moisturizer, make-up, perfume, hair styling gel, deodorant, toothpaste. More and more natural brands are proudly labeling their products “paraben-free” to help us to make nontoxic choices. If you need some help, the Environmental Working Group sponsors an excellent database called Skin Deep which rates nearly 80,000 different products. Plus you can find some suggestions for reliable personal care product brands on their website.
Coconut Adzuki Stew
Try this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! This hot, rich dish is perfect for the cooler mornings and evenings of early Spring. Relatively unknown in the American legume world, adzuki beans are very popular in Japan. Try the Eden brand of canned adzuki beans; Eden soaks their beans before cooking and never uses BPA in their can packaging.
- 1 can adzuki beans or two cups cooked beans (find Eden brand beans at Whole Foods Market)
- 1 pound butternut squash (peeled) or sweet potato, diced
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock ( I like Trader Joe’s organic, free-range chicken stock)
- 2 medium onions, finely diced
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried coriander
- ¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Seasalt to taste
In a soup pot, stir fry onions, garlic and squash for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Sprinkle coriander over vegetables and saute for one minute more. Add coconut milk and stock; cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir well, add beans and parsley, and salt to your taste. If necessary, add a bit more stock to desired consistency. Cover again and cook another 10 minutes. Delicious alongside a light, flaky fish too. I love this stew as a base for a piece of poached cod.
Wonderful Winter Retreats for Women
Another wonderful women’s retreat! I love these events. An opportunity for a couple dozen women to get away together – with no responsibilities, no worries, no need to be “on”. This time we savored cozy time together in a spacious ski house just north of Grafton Notch, New Hampshire. We took a snowshoe hike up into the mountains to an exquisite frozen waterfall. True relaxation, yoga, laughter, new friends,… As I have done many times before, it was my pleasure to offer nourishing, delicious meals and snacks throughout the weekend. Thank you again to Penny Dickson for these delightful Women’s Wilderness Retreats opportunities. It is my pleasure to partner with you!
What Inspires Me
“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”
- Dr. Paul Dudley White, M.D. (cardiologist)