Over the last year we have all spent more time at home. Thanks to the pandemic rules in most states, we’ve been cloistered with our spouses and children, breathing the same air and exposed almost 24/7 to the same environment.
Many health experts have now taken to analyzing the psychological impact this can have on your family. Especially now that winter weather is keeping much of the country confined, even on the weekend.
But, from a building biology standpoint this also means we are being subjected to more EMF’s from wifi, phones and electricity.
Studies show that once building tradespeople were approved as essential workers, we collectively began to take care of all those small repair and remodeling jobs that we could ignore when we spent 8- hours a day at work.
What does this mean for the air which is now contaminated with paint fumes and new building materials out-gassing? Then add those chemicals to the mold particles that build up in our sealed winter environment and you have a recipe for disaster.
It’s no wonder we feel sicker, more lethargic and don’t understand why. Over time, these chemicals (VOC’s, xylene, styrene, glyphosate) build up in our bodies and lead to serious health issues.
So if you are experiencing a sudden health issue, you might want to start by surveying your home environment and consider some testing to determine your body burden. It could be the cause of your poor health.
Pop culture is filled with ways to keep you grounded psychologically but Biological Psychologist Helena Riess, Ph. D. says that it’s just as important to be physically grounded.
“We’ve gotten away from nature,” Dr. Riess says, “and we don’t even realize the negative impact it has on our health.”
When she refers to the concept of “grounding”, Dr. Riess means actual physical contact with the ground and nature. The benefits can range from the psychological well -being of relaxing in a natural environment to the physical impact of clean air.
Additionally, studies have shown that gardening and contact with bacteria in the soil can have a beneficial impact on human health. Ask any gardener how they feel after a day in the dirt and you can’t help but see the positive impact.
Dr. Riess says she is a firm believer in grounding or “earthing” as a way to control stress and improve overall wellness. Contact with the ground can release negative ions that build up in the body and can counteract the impact of free radicals according to Dr. Riess. She points to Clinton Ober’s groundbreaking book on the subject as the basis for the movement.
She uses a variety techniques to help her and her clients keep in contact with the earth even when engaged in daily activities- such as sleep, work, and even walking.
“The impact on sleep and stress levels is significant,” she notes.
Recently I went to dinner with friends. As usual, I questioned our server extensively about the kitchen’s use of canola oil. My purpose is not to disparage restaurants, but I would urge you, not to always believe what your server reports.
Almost every restaurant uses canola oil, either by itself or to cut costs by combining it with more expensive olive oil.
I urge all my clients to reject canola oil and do what ever they can to avoid using it. Here’s why.
Hundreds of years ago, humans were processing rapeseed to extract the oil. It was not used as a food product but as a lubricant. Usage increased as the Industrial Revolution gathered steam and it also became particularly useful in keeping machine parts clean.
The railroad used it extensively to clean engines and as a lubricant. Rapeseed was too high in a number of substances (uric acid among them) to be used as a food source.
Researchers at the University of Manitoba reengineered the seed, using hybridization techniques, to create a seed that had fewer harmful chemicals and was much closer in taste to olive oil.
This is what we now call canola oil, a name created by marketing types to separate it from the reputation of rapeseed oil. “Canola” stands for Canadian Oil (some believe it stands for Canada Oil, Low Acid).
These days the rapeseed is created by plants using GMO techniques. Since 1995, according to Kris Gunnars of Authority Nutrition, Monsanto has manufactured rapeseeds that are genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide RoundUp.
Today, about 90% of the world’s canola crop is genetically modified.
Additionally, the extraction of the oil involves chemical separation using hexane – a known carcinogen.
Production of the oil is a very technical process, unlike the simple processes used to make other popular fats/oils, such as butter, olive oil or coconut oil.
The fact that it is exposed to high heat can be problematic since the oil is high in polyunsaturated fats, which are very sensitive to high heat and easily become oxidized (rancid).
Hexane is used to extract the oil from the seeds and trace amounts of it have sometimes been found in the final product.
You just can’t tell how much of the final product is damaged during the manufacturing process because the oil is also deodorized, which removes the smell.
One study analyzed canola and soybean oils found on store shelves in the U.S. They found that up to 4.2% of the fatty acids in them were toxic trans fats.
While the Canola industry claims it is entirely safe, others point to the Hexane residue and GMO sourcing as major problems.
By comparison, cold-pressed and organic canola oil has not gone through the same process and won’t contain so many oxidized fats or trans fats.
Unfortunately, the great majority of rapeseed/canola oils are made with the industrial processing method.
A recent article in Great Britain’s Daily Mail pointed out that in some parts of the United States naturally occurring levels of fluoride in well water may be reducing IQ levels in children.
Forgetting for a minute, the continuing debate over what IQ levels really measure, the article does raise, once again, the continuing controversy over whether there is really any safe level of fluoridation.
Europe has largely banned the practice, but in the US it continues, with proponents saying that it prevents tooth decay. Opponents, including me, contend that there is no safe level of chemicals to be added to water especially if children are involved.
Studies, which the FDA and local municipalities choose to ignore, suggest that any benefit of fluoride, are more than offset by long-term nuerological problems which are just beginning to surface.
It’s tough to do a double-blind study on children raised on water with and without floride, but I believe strongly that fluoride is among a host of chemicals contributing to the widespread increase in autism, ADHD, and a number of other disorders.
I urge all my clients to avoid fluoridated water, especially in children. You can either buy a whole house filter to get ride of it, or simply use bottled water for anything going in your mouth.
This is just one more step toward wellness for you and your children.