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When making the switch from commercial antiperspirants to Live Whole Be Free’s all natural, organic deodorant, I highly recommend starting with a 3-day tea tree oil detox to remove the toxins from your body. 

For three days, you wear only a drop of tea tree oil under each arm. You can purchase tea tree oil at any specialty grocery store BUT… I recommend buying therapeutic-grade from Young Living. This is the best of the best. You will reduce risk of skin irritations and other side effects this way, since Young Living oils are pure and unadulterated. Tea Tree Oil (called Melaleuca Alternifolia) can be used for a myriad of uses such as the ones below, but again, I would only use YL’s oils for such uses. (Use this link to sign up as a YL distributor and receive wholesale pricing. My ID# is 1563299).

Uses for Melaleuca (Tea Tree Oil) 

  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-infectious
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiparasitic
  • Antiseptic
  • Antiviral
  • Decongestant
  • Digestive
  • Expectorant
  • Immune stimulant
  • Insecticidal
  • Neurotonic
  • Stimulant
  • Tissue regenerative

The three day detox period allows your body rid itself toxins like aluminum zirconium, the icky chemical found in commercial antiperspirants which has been linked to all sorts of issues. You’ll also want to exercise and sweat those toxins out! Don’t sit home all day under the air conditioning trying to avoid getting stinky. The more you sweat, the better! Those first few days—you might smell a bit, but it’s worth it. If you’re concerned about it, do it over the weekend, making Saturday and Sunday the first two days. By Monday, you’ll be much better off. After three days wearing just tea tree oil, you will be ready to start wearing the organic deodorant. Again, the detox is NOT required, it is just helpful. Plenty of people use this product with great success without having done the detox.

To purchase Live Whole Be Free’s all-natural, organic deodorants, visit Live Whole Be Free’s Etsy Shop!

Peace, love and toxin-free bodies!

Melissa

Rewind to about 8 years ago, and I’m not sure I would have known what you were talking about if you mentioned essential oils to me. At that time I was lathering my skin in scented lotions and my hair in scented products, burning candles throughout the house, you name it. I started to become more conscious of what I was putting on my skin several years ago, when a shampoo I was using suddenly caused me to breakout in hives. The hives covered my face and neck and it was weeks before it finally cleared up. I discontinued the use of that shampoo, and started to try to figure out what could have caused the reaction.

I started to research the effects things like synthetic fragrances, phthalates, parabens, etc. have on the body. With that knowledge, I could no longer bring myself to lather my body’s largest organ—the skin—in toxins. Everything you put onto your skin, toxic or not, gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Eek! So for me, that meant no more scented lotions, no more perfume, no more crazy scented hair products. Nothing. I also stopped burning candles in the house because they made my eyes red, itchy and watery.

My allergies and overall health definitely improved after I cut out the toxic, synthetic fragrances. Although I had a boring-smelling house since everything I was using at that point was of the unscented variety, I went on my merry way. That is until a couple of years ago, when I mentioned to my natural doctor that I had recently been slurring words when speaking and missing letters when writing. He immediately asked if the antiperspirant I used contained Aluminum Zirconium and a couple other things. I had absolutely no idea. I went home, checked the label, and sure enough, the “bad” things he mentioned were on there. I did more research and found out that aluminum zirconium and several other ingredients in antiperspirants have been linked to some pretty nasty illnesses/diseases. I immediately stopped using the antiperspirant and—long story short—began making and selling my own natural deodorant.

As I started tweaking my deodorant recipe to find perfection, I began experimenting with essential oils. I had no idea at the time what a huge role they would play in my life. What started out as a fun way to scent my deodorants, has now resulted in creating deodorants with healing powers! Who would have known?!

Not only am I now using pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils in my deodorant line, but I use them instead of prescription medications to help control my asthma, anxiety and depression. I use them on my 5-month old to help resolve fussiness, congestion and coughs, as well as for diaper rash prevention. I have also begun using them in place of toxic household cleaning products which is incredibly important to me especially with a little one about to start crawling on the floor! And I can’t forget to mention that I’ve finally found something to help “scent” my house that won’t kill me! Goodbye “Glade Plug-Ins”!  Did you know that those things are filled with formaldehyde—the biggest chemical carcinogen that we know of? Did you know the formaldehyde in there actually deadens your olfactory nerves? That’s why you stop smelling it after a while and have to switch scents! Terrible!

There are so many more uses for essential oils, I am so excited to explore the myriad of possibilities of what EOs can do for myself, my family and my friends! Expect more info coming your way soon, and if you’re interested in purchasing pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils, I do so through Young Living. Feel free to message me for more information, but the best way to experience EOs is to purchase the Premium Starter Kit, which gets you a TON of oils as well as the diffuser, which is muy importante, for a super awesome price.

Peace, love and essential oils,

Melissa

YL Distributor #1563299

Being a new mom, I’m terrified of many things, mostly of things I can’t control. That’s why when it comes to things that I CAN control, I’m taking extra care to be sure I give my son the very best. This leads me to a discussion on diaper rash. Prior to our baby’s birth, I researched all I could on remedies to prevent and—if necessary—treat diaper rash.

Here’s what I’ve done so far. Please note that I am by no means an expert—I’ve only been a mom for 4 weeks. But so far, this is working for our baby! UPDATE: Our little one is 11 months now, and this process/products below are still our GOLD standard in diaper rash prevention/treatment!

The Process:

Most importantly, change the diaper regularly. We are currently using Earth’s Best Diapers. (Update 8/2014: We switched to Honest diapers during the day, and cloth overnight). As soon as the diaper is wet, be sure to change it. There’s nothing bacteria like more than a warm, wet environment! Also, use all-natural laundry detergent, natural diapers and natural wipes to avoid allergic reactions. Organic clothing on newborns is also helpful.

  1. Wipe down baby with Earth’s Best Wipes. This removes stool and urine that can contain substances like bacteria, yeast, parasites and other toxins that can cause diaper rash.
  2. Wipe down baby with water using a wet washcloth (we’re currently using GroVia wipes).
  3. Pat dry with a dry washcloth.
  4. From this point, I’ve been alternating treatments. I alternate between just putting him in a diaper, with no special “treatments”, using an Organic Coconut/Arrowroot Powder mix and using an Organic Oil Treatment. The Organic Oil Treatment should only be used every 3 diaper changes (or 2-3x a day), and the Powder Treatment should be used whenever you feel necessary, especially when there is moisture present.

Organic Coconut/Arrowroot Powder

First and foremost, this powder does NOT contain talc, which is a common carcinogen and has been proven dangerous to a child’s lungs. I apply it by shaking a small amount into the diaper, then spreading it across the diaper with clean hands. I apply the powder to the diaper away from my baby’s face so that he does not inhale any of the powder. The ingredients in the powder have anti-microbial properties and help absorb moisture. You can easily make your own powder mix at home, or you can purchase it online. Check Amazon for cheaper prices. If baby experiences a reaction, discontinue use.

Organic Oil Treatment

The oils moisturize baby’s skin as well as protect and disinfect without disrupting the skin’s natural protective properties. I have used this since my son was born for diaper rash prevention AND treatment! Buy online from my Etsy shop! 

Baking Soda Bath

To help neutralize acidity of diarrhea/diaper rash on baby’s skin, pour baking soda in a warm bath and have baby soak in it. Works wonders!

 

Peace, love and healthy baby skin,

Melissa

 

After about 3 days of research, we finally figured out what kind of mattress and mattress cover our little angel will be sleeping on. I think my husband and I have done more research on baby stuff in the past 7 months than either of us did in four years of college! The good news is, I’m going to share all this good stuff with you! Even if you don’t have children, this is an important read in order to keep chemicals and toxins from harming you while you sleep.

Studies have shown that crib mattresses contribute to one of the highest causes of chemical poisoning among babies. Regular (and sheepskin) mattresses contain phosphorous, arsenic and antimony. These elements are naturally occurring in some sheepskins and are added in via the manufacturing process of regular mattresses. Arsenic and antimony are used as preservatives in mandatory flame retardants and phosphorous is a plasticizer used in matters covers. Most baby mattresses contain filling material called polyurethane foam, which is made from petroleum and contains chemical catalysts, surfactants, emulsifiers, pigments and more. Manufacturers listed on the material safety data sheet (MSDS) that exposure to polyurethane foam can cause: possible cardiac arrhythmias, breathlessness, chest discomfort, irritation of mucous membranes, headache, coughing dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision and more. Considering infants spend an incredible amount of time sleeping, this is a huge concern for me.

Adding to that, a common household fungus known as Scopularioupsis Brevicaulis gets established in the mattress from the baby’s sweating, spitting up, urinating, etc. Once it’s there, the fungus feeds off of the phosphorous, arsenic and antimony. The result is a production of three nerve gasses: phosphine, arsine and stibine, all of which can be very deadly, especially to infants. Enter SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It has also been proven that the risk of SIDS increases with the birth of each child, potentially because mattresses are re-used, allowing the fungus to become more established with the addition of each child.

Although it is not 100% scientifically proven, many scientists believe that toxic gases released from crib mattresses can cause SIDS when inhaled or absorbed by the baby. A large study in New Zealand had a 100% success rate in crib death prevention for the past 13 years. Parents were strongly advised to wrap their mattresses with a specially formulated polyethylene cover. Out of 170,000 (22%) New Zealand babies, not one single SIDS death was reported, compared to 860 reports of crib death prior to this study. To be clear, scientists agree that low density, food-grade polyethylene is the safest plastic available for waterproofing a crib mattress, since it does not contain phthalates or other unsafe additives.

So how do you make sure nerve gasses aren’t reaching your baby?

Well, you either buy an organic mattress or you cover the one you have with a low-density food-grade polyethylene sheeting. It is the safest plastic available for waterproofing a mattress. It has a simple molecular structure and does not contain phthalates or other unsafe additives. Unlike the production of vinyl, dioxins and other toxic chemicals are not released into the environment during the production of low-density polyethylene.

If you’re buying a new, organic mattress, make sure it’s actually organic (as opposed to it having just one organic material and abusing the term “organic”). It depends on all materials used. Even an organic cotton filled mattress can be filled with a vinyl covering, which then likely adds in chemical fire retardants. Check out company ratings in this buying guide. Once you’ve decided on a couple you’re interested in, check them against the tips above to see if any red flags come up. There’s also a very helpful chart and key included in that guide.

A few comments about the buying guide’s recommendations:

Though boric acid is considered by some to have a low toxicity rating, it’s also a roach killer. Also, antimony is listed as a “chemical of concern” but arsenic and phosphorous are not. Double check with manufacturers on whether they contain these two compounds before making a final decision on a purchase. Also, avoid any mattresses that have an un-waterproofed surface. Wool/latex as the surface material is okay, un-waterproofed cotton is no good, because it can get wet and mildew. (Enter S. Brevicaulis). Removable cotton pads/wool pads that can be washed are fine, but make sure they aren’t too cushy, especially if your baby is going to sleep on his/her stomach, as this can interfere with breathing. On that note, a firm mattress is a must-have if you are buying for an infant.

If you are going to continue using the mattress you have, be sure to cover it properly.

  • Cover the top, all sides and most of the underside of the mattress with a polyethylene sheeting that is at least 5 mil thick and free of phosphorus, arsenic and antimony. Leave several venting holes on the underside of the mattress cover so that the gas can escape.
  • Use fleecy pure cotton mattress cover over the polyethylene sheeting and tuck it in securely.
  • Make the bed using pure cotton sheets.
  • Do not use any of the following as baby bedding: sheepskin, moisture-resistant mattress protector, acrylic under blanket, sleeping bag or duvet.
  • Clean mattress covers by wiping with pure soap and water. Do not use chemical bleaches or sterilizers.

If you made it through that entire post, congratulations. If you didn’t, I don’t blame you. Regardless, here’s a quick recap:

Buying for Baby:

Mattress: Should have waterproofed cotton or wool/latex as the surface material. Mattress should be firm.
Cover: Use a low density food grade polyethylene mattress cover or a pure cotton cover if the top of the mattress is waterproofed.
Sheets: Pure cotton sheets. Organic is great, but make sure they’re at least 100% cotton.

For Adults:

These same nerve gasses that could harm an infant could harm you too. Although we have a mattress that is just 6 months old, I do not know what it is made out of and don’t want to take any chances. Especially knowing that if it is emitting nerve gasses, I will absorb them and they will be passed through my breastmilk to my child. Needless to say, we just bought an adult-size low density food grade polyethylene mattress cover here. Although it makes a plastic-y sound when you get into bed, I don’t mind! A small price to pay for better health and my child’s safety.

And lastly, if you’re wondering what mattress and mattress cover we went with for our baby, we went with Naturepedic. Here is the mattress we purchased (or will be purchasing) and here is the mattress pad (waterproof).

Sources:
http://www.cleanhealthyny.org/2011/11/mattress-matters-report.html#more
http://www.cleanhealthyny.org/MattressMattersReport-Jan2012.pdf
http://www.mommypotamus.com/do-sheepskins-cause-sids/
http://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-buy-a-non-toxic-mattress/
http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/bedding.asp
http://www.simplybabybedding.com/safety-facts-dangers-crib-mattresses.html

If you are reading this post, you are probably one of two groups of people. You either know deep down that it’s important to buy organic, but if you were asked to list the reasons, you might not be able to do so, or you are not yet convinced that it’s important to buy organic and are interested in what I have to say about it. Although I feel there are about a million and a half reasons to buy organic, I’ll keep this post short.

Reasons to buy organic:

  • Organic foods have no synthetic fertilizers, no synthetic pesticides or insecticides, no genetically engineered plants or animals… (Um… that means that conventional foods DO have those things. Who wants to eat fertilizer or genetically engineered animals?! Not I!)
  • Organic foods have less pesticide residue than conventionally grown foods and it is well documented that children who eat a predominantly organic diet have lower levels of pesticide residue in their bodies. (Oh the innocent children! Don’t feed them chemicals!)
  • Buying organic can be expensive, so here are the top foods to buy organic, since they have the highest amount of pesticides: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes and imported grapes. Hormone and antibiotic free butter, milk, eggs and meat are good too. Although it can be pricey, the money you spend now to eat better will be far less than what you’ll spend later in life with all the medicine and drug treatments you’ll need because of all the pesticides you consumed.
  • Organic farms are less damaging to the environment and when you buy organic you subscribe to a different kind of environment ethic. Buying organic tells store owners and farmers that there is a demand for organic food.

So there you have it. Moral of the story—take care of yourself. Don’t feed yourself (or the innocent children) chemicals.

Peace, love and pesticide-free food,

Melissa

Many of you have reached out to me with such amazing, positive feedback from our all-natural, chemical-free deodorant line and we want to thank you for that feedback! We are thrilled with the results and effectiveness and even more thrilled that it’s working for you too! We’ve decided to put a short post together containing tips, tricks and what to expect for using the all-natural deodorant to help you further enjoy the experience. Enjoy!

  • If possible, do the 3-day tea tree oil detox to rid your body of toxins from commercial anti-persperants such as aluminum zirconium.
  • If the product melts, mix the product to redistribute the ingredients, then stick in the refrigerator just long enough for the product to resolidify, then use and store at room temperature. This will not impact effectiveness. Because coconut oil is one of the main ingredients, it will melt in the heat and solidify in cooler temperatures. Be sure to travel with it in a ziplock bag to prevent leaks. If the product is very cold, you can take a small amount out of the jar with your finger and hold it in your armpit (arm closed) until it begins to melt. Use and store at room temperature.
  • The deodorant is best applied using your finger. I recommend using a small amount. I use an amount smaller than the size of a dime.
  • Ladies wearing tank tops—after applying, check your armpit to ensure the product is fully absorbed. If you see anything white, just brush your armpit and the white will brush right off or rub into your skin. If you’re not wearing a tank top, you don’t have a reason to be concerned.
  • Ladies that shave—if you experience any stinging after shaving and then applying the deodorant, try shaving in the evening instead, then waiting to apply the deodorant until the morning.
  • Irritation—if you experience any irritation, I suggest trying several things: 1. Make sure you didn’t just shave your pits.  2. Reduce the amount and/or frequency of use of the product and the irritation should subside. 3. Try using a different scent or try the Sensitive Original (unscented), as sometimes people can have sensitivities to essential oils. 4. Try our Sensitive Advanced formula, which does not include baking soda, which can cause irritation in some people. UPDATE 12/6/15: I have been using this deodorant every single day for over 3.5 years. I have only experienced 2 small and brief periods where I had some irritation under my arms. It was easily remedied by using the Advanced formula for a couple weeks, then I went right back to the same scent I was wearing before without issues.
  • This is a deodorant, not an anti-persperant. We want to sweat. Sweating is a natural body response and helps to eliminate toxins. Some people have mentioned that at the beginning of making the switch to all-natural deodorant, they were sweating more than usual. They have also reported that this is only temporary, and the results were fantastic! I actually sweat LESS now with this deodorant (not an anti-persperant) than I was before.
  • If the deodorant dries out at all (this can happen if it leaks/spills or is kept in a hot place) just add a touch of organic sunflower oil and remix. Voila! Good as new!

Hopefully those tips and tricks will help you as you embark on your chemical-free deodorant life! We can honestly say we love this product so much, we will never go back to store-bought brands! I wore commercial anti-persperant for 15+ years before doing the 3-day detox and making the switch. I have tried a couple of other “natural” deodorants in the past such as Jason’s and Tom’s brands, but neither of them worked at all for me. In fact, I’ve never met anyone who has told me either of these brands have actually worked for them. How they are still on store shelves is beyond me. The deodorant is the only thing my husband and I have worn for years now. My husband loves and it, and he’s not nearly as “crunchy” as I am!

Buy it on Etsy!

Peace, love and healthy bodies,

Melissa

Hello and Happy Monday friends from across the globe! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

We are starting off this new week posting about what many might consider a rather touchy subject. It has come to my attention that several people may have experienced some frustration after I recently shared a photo on facebook of a sign in a doctor’s office stating that they do not give flu shots. I shared this photo because I believe it’s time people start realizing that just because someone (i.e. the media, Walgreens, etc) says you should do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. I wish more people realized that they have a choice whether or not to get the flu shot, a right to know what potentially dangerous chemicals it contains and possible drawbacks to getting it.

However, doctors and nurses everywhere save lives every day. They come to work day in and day out dedicating themselves to helping others. How many of us can say that about ourselves? So to doctors and nurses everywhere, here is me saying that I appreciate what you do for us. I think we are lucky to live in a country with amazing advancements in medicine, but I also feel that we should be doing more to prevent disease instead of treating symptoms or waiting for things to get bad, as they inevitably will without preventative care. My frustration lies in the media, big pharma companies and doctors that don’t listen.

Unfortunately it only takes one bad apple to tarnish a name. It’s that one dirty player that gives the team a bad reputation, the one ref that makes the bad call or maybe it’s a family with a misunderstood child. In this case, I feel that it is because of years of treatment by uneducated doctors that helped land me in the position I am today—dealing with side effects and issues from years of being over-medicated.

Flu Shots NOT Here!Do I believe in the flu shot? No, I most certainly do not. I think it does more harm than good. But we live in the United States, where we have the right to say, think and feel as we so desire. It is for that same reason that I withhold judgement towards others that DO get and believe in the flu shot. Am I going to vaccinate my children? Yeah, probably. Word on the street is that they can’t get into school otherwise. Am I thrilled about that? Not particularly. But I do think it’s great that my children won’t have to get the measles.

I’ve gained and continue to gain knowledge as I grow older, and one of the most important things to me is that people realize that there are two sides to every story. For instance, big pharma companies fund studies and publish research about how their drug cures “such and such” disease. Maybe it does, but there’s also about 100 side effects it causes as well, which are severely downplayed. Fruits and vegetables, physical activity and plenty of rest can prevent those diseases and even reverse ailments in some cases too, but no one can get rich off fruits and vegetables like they can a prescription medication. No one is going to fund research that proves vegetables can make you better because then what…? People might actually start eating them, and might become healthier?! If that happens, they won’t need the big pharma company’s medications, then the pharma companies go out of business—heaven forbid!

Again, these are my ramblings. There’s a million other people on the internet rambling about things you may or may not agree with. But my current thoughts and feelings stem from past experiences as well as my current state of well being which very honestly right now—is sheer frustration. Frustration because I feel like I was mislead for more than half of my life and am now paying the price. And most recently, frustration that I tell my ENT doc that I’m looking for a lasting drug-free solution to my problem, and he does just the opposite by writing me prescriptions for decongestants and steroids. He’s probably just busy, but he’s not listening. On the other hand, I have several natural doctors that I’m working with that do listen to me, and I feel as if they truly care about me. They treat me like a person, not a number, and are dedicated to finding natural solutions to my issues that will make me happy and healthy.

So to the doctors and nurses out there, thank you. Thank you for doing what you do, day in and day out. Thanks for understanding that the shared photo comes from a girl who’s quite frustrated, like yourself. In the end, we all want to be happy and healthy. So let’s band together!

Peace, love and understanding,

Melissa

Hello friends! I hope you’re all enjoying the warm weather now that summer is in full swing! We sure are enjoying the heat down in Texas! And speaking of the heat… yep… the homemade deodorant is still working! In fact, the responses to the Aluminum Zirconium post was so overwhelming, I’ve decided to make a little challenge out of it.

UPDATE: THIS OFFER IS EXPIRED: If you are curious about the homemade deodorant but don’t want to invest the time or money to make your own—no problem—I’ve decided to make it for you! I’ve bought plenty of 1 ounce containers and will spend the next few days making deodorant for those of you willing to give this challenge a try. Aren’t they cute?! And they’re cheap! Just four bucks for a 1 oz. plastic container of lemon and clove homemade deodorant (shipping not included). That’s comparable to what you would pay at a “regular” grocery store for commercial anti-persperants AND it won’t cause Alzheimer’s or other neurological issues/side effects. Sounds like a win, huh?! It’s also much cheaper than buying from specialty organic stores. If you’re interested in this, I suggest jumping on this opportunity as I’m not certain I’m going to make deodorant-making my full-time gig.

Here is the Homemade Deodorant Challenge

For three days, you wear only a drop of tea tree essential oil (melaleuca alternifolia) under each arm. This is your detox period in order to rid your body of aluminum zirconium, the icky chemical found in commercial anti-persperants, linked to all kinds of issues! Also, you need to sweat those toxins out! Don’t sit home all day under the air conditioning trying to avoid getting stinky. Those first few days—you might smell a bit, but it’s worth it! If you’re concerned about it, do it over the weekend, making Saturday and Sunday the first two days. By Monday, you’ll be much better off.

After three days, you spend the next week (to two weeks) wearing only the homemade deodorant. For most people, it won’t take long to convince you that this stuff works. It only took me a few days. But for those of you who need more convincing, go for two full weeks.

Lastly, I want to know how it goes! Post your comments below and let’s have a nice group chat about everyone’s experiences with this! Remember, everyone’s body is different, so embrace the fact that your experience might be different than the next person’s and that is perfectly normal!

To purchase LWBF’s Lemon and Clove All-Natural Deodorant visit Live Whole Be Free’s Etsy Shop!

**TIP: If your product gets too warm, it will turn into more of a liquid than a paste. This is completely normal and it’s because of the melting temperature of the coconut oil. Just use a toothpick or your finger to mix it back up to evenly distribute the ingredients, then stick it in the fridge for a bit! However, use and store at room temperatures. For more tips and tricks, check out our Tips/Tricks post**

 

Congratulations on finishing the first month of the Biggest Achiever Program and welcome to month #2 of our three month program! I am proud to announce that many of you have been extremely successful on this program so far, not only with weight loss, but with an increasingly positive outlook on life in general!

I’ve gotten a lot of wonderful feedback on the program thus far, and as expected, some folks would like the program to be tougher and some think it’s tough enough already. That’s the beauty of a program like this, everyone is different. Everyone will progress at different rates and hit plateaus at different times. Just remember, when you feel like quitting, that’s a plateau, not failure. We all hit plateaus, it is normal to feel frustrated an uncertain any time you try to make a change, regardless if it’s for the better. Stay focused.

Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress. – Thomas Edison

As we enter the second month of the Biggest Achiever Program, I want you to continue to take it at your own speed, a speed at which you can be successful at, but one that also pushes your limits. If you don’t experience a sense of uneasiness, you will never see a change. So welcome that uncomfortable feeling you have, as it will make the feeling of accomplishment so much greater in the end.

This month, there will be more than one challenge at a time. You can choose to do one, two or three challenges. However, whatever you decide to do on Monday, you must stick with through the entire week. For instance, if you chose to participate in two challenges, you must finish both challenges. This teaches discipline. If you select one challenge, however, you CAN decide to add on more challenges as the week progresses. Since both a healthy diet and exercise are required for optimum health, some of these new challenges will involve exercise. Please check with your doctor to ensure you are healthy enough to participate in these exercises.

Week #5 Challenges

Main Challenge — 12 Hour Detox

This week’s challenge is to leave a 12 hour detox window between the last thing you eat at night and the first thing you eat in the morning. Yes, it requires a little planning, but mostly, it requires you to cut out unnecessary late night snacking!

The detoxification process kicks in 8 hours after your last meal and needs 4 hours to function optimally. It is after that 8 hour mark that your body has finished processing the last meal you ate. Once digestion is completed, accumulated toxins from the tissues are released into the bloodstream so that they can eventually be neutralized and eliminated with the help of nutrients. If the toxins are not eliminated, not only can they be reabsorbed into the bloodstream, but the free radicals that they contain corrode tissues and damage cells on contact. This is one reason why late night eating is discouraged. If your body never finishes processing your food before you eat again, it doesn’t have the chance to release other accumulated toxins. The reason we call that first meal of the day “breakfast” is because that’s exactly what we’re doing, we’re breaking the fast that has occurred overnight.

Secondary Challenge — Get Moving!

It’s important that we train ourselves to move more often. So that whole taking the stairs for a week thing? Yeah… we’re going to try to make that more of a lifestyle instead of just a weekly challenge. Read here for ideas on how to incorporate more movement into your everyday life, burning more and more calories, leading to… you guessed it… weight loss!

I recently watched Food, Inc. (there is also a book) and it was one of the most influential documentaries I have ever seen. I was blind to exactly how corrupt our government really is, the hidden dangers in our food and the poor farmers that are too fearful to show their faces or use their real names in this documentary for fear of what will happen to them, their families and their businesses. It’s like a creepy farmer horror movie, but it’s actually happening, as we sit here, staring at our computer screens.

I highly recommend watching the movie for yourself, but here’s a sneak peek of what’s included until you get the chance.

Food has changed more in the last 50 years than it has in the past 10,000, and not in a good way. “The idea that you have to write a book to tell people where their food came from shows you how far removed we are from it.” – Michael Pollan, Author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma

The American Supermarket

The modern American supermarket has on average 47,000 products.

There are no seasons in the American supermarket. Instead, food is picked green (way too early) and is ripened with ethylene gas. In the winter, you are eating the “idea” of a tomato.

70 percent of all processed foods in supermarkets have a genetically modified ingredient. (Or genetically modified organism, GMO).

Beef and Poultry

McDonalds, the largest purchaser of ground beef, wants all of their beef to taste the same, which creates a problem, since it will all have to be altered in order to achieve that.

There are currently only a handful of companies controlling our food system (enter fear and anxiety). The top four beef companies control 80 percent of the market. So even if you don’t eat at a fast food restaurant, you are still a part of this horrible system.

Tyson is the largest meat packaging company in the history of the world.

To meet demand, and of course, to make more money, chickens are now raised twice as fast, to be twice as big and have actually been redesigned to have larger breasts because people like white meat. Because they are produced so rapidly, their bones and internal organs can’t keep up with the weight they are carrying, they literally collapse because they cannot walk. Faster, fatter, bigger, cheaper, that about sums it up.

Hamburger meat is cleansed with ammonia to kill E. coli.

Corn and Corn Products

“So much of our industrial food is clever rearrangements of corn.” – Michael Pollan

Because of fertilizer, pesticides, etc., we can grow ten times as much corn than we could in the past. 20 bushels per acre has now become 200+ bushels per acre. 30 percent of our land is devoted to corn, thanks to government policy.

Corn farmers are encouraged to grow as much corn as possible, and the government will come up with uses for them (enter high fructose corn syrup). Our food is now engineered to last longer on shelves, to be produced at a lower cost, etc.

What else is made from corn? Probably the majority of what you eat in a day! Ketchup, cheese, twinkies, peanut butter, cheeze-itz, salad dressing, coke, jelly, sweet and low, syrup, juice, kool-aid, meat and fast food, to name a few. Maltodextrin, xantham gum and ascorbic acid can also all be made from corn. And it’s not just limited to food… Batteries, charcoal, diapers and motrin are corn products as well.

These calories are cheaper to produce, they are heavily subsidized. Snack food calories come from commodity crops like wheat, corn and soybeans.

We Feed Corn to Everyone and Everything

Corn is the main ingredient in feed. Unless you buy grass-fed beef, it was fed corn. Even farmed fish are fed corn. (Note, you can still eat beef and fish if you’d like, just buy grass-fed and wild-caught!)

Cows are not designed by evolution to eat corn, it’s just cheaper for us to eat and corn makes them fat. This high corn diet that the cows is harmful to them. It results in E. coli, and this strain of E. coli evolves, now entering the food system. The E. coli from this corn-fed cow is found in beef, spinach, apple juice and more because of run off. It’s scary to think that even as a vegetarian or vegan, you could be affected by this system.

Soybeans

90 percent of soybeans contain a patented gene that is unaffected by pesticides (2008, Monsanto patented gene). Monsanto is an evil chemical company, pretty much responsible for ruining farmers’ lives and ridding us of any non-GMO soybeans. Monsanto keeps a staff and surveillance teams to prosecute farmers for saving their own non-GMO seeds to plant next year. Monsanto puts those farmers who do not comply out of business by any means necessary. (Think dark and evil forces here).

Poor Treatment of Animals

When you watch the film, they show the hole that they have to cut into the side of the cow, to fish out the E. coli bacteria. Yum. Anyone for a burger? If not today, maybe tomorrow? The average American eats 200 lbs. of meat per year.

These obese, collapsing chickens are packed so tightly together, that they couldn’t walk even if they could. They’re often kept in wire cages, their feet growing over the wires beneath them. Their beaks are seared off so they don’t peck each other or the workers.

Animals stand knee deep in their manure all day long. If we put glass walls on all the processing facilities, we’d have a different food system in this country.

The Corrupted Government

Basically, everyone’s in bed with someone else. We put our faith in the government to protect us, but we’re not being protected at even the most basic level. Regulatory agencies are now being controlled by the companies they’re supposed to be scrutinizing.

In 1972, the FDA conducted approximately 50,000 food safety inspections. In 2006, they conducted only 9,164. Gross.

There are only 13 slaughter houses to process the majority of meat processed in the U.S. They’re all combined, so the odds of one of them carrying something infectious is extremely high.

Something is seriously wrong with some of these people. The meat/poultry associations actually took the USDA to court to say that the USDA doesn’t have the authority to shut down plants, even if the plant is contaminated. (What?!?!) However, after a young boy’s death resulted in a new law called Kevin’s Law, plants that continually produce contaminated meat will be shut down.

The food industry is always looking for steps in efficiency, but each step creates more problems. For instance, if a cow has E. coli, all that is necessary (instead of raging antibiotics, steroids, or another high-tech answer) is five days of a grass-fed diet. It will shed 80 percent of the bacteria that way.

The employers (Smithfield, for example) even have such a twisted hold of their employees, which are bussed in from 100 miles away, they can’t afford to quit.

In the last 25 years, our government has been dominated by the industries it was meant to be regulating.

Everything is about politics, centralized power being used against farmers, workers and consumer who are deliberately being kept in the dark about what they’re eating and what it is doing to their bodies. They don’t want  you to know what’s in it, and they make it against the law for you to criticize their products.

The food industry has different protections than other industries. Oprah was sued for loss of profit by the meat industry for something she said on her show. Six years of litigation, $1 million in legal fees, but Oprah won. Unfortunately there’s not enough people out there with $1 million lying around to fight these companies and win. Another example, in Colorado, you can go to PRISON for criticizing ground beef in the state of Colorado. And Colorado is not alone, there are laws passed in 13 U.S. states that make it easier for food producers to sue their critics for slander. These states include: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas.

You and I

We’re all different. But are we, really? Because there are companies that certainly have us all figured out. We are hard-wired to go for three tastes: fat, sugar and salt. These are rare in nature, but now we can find them everywhere. These things cause spikes in insulin and wear down our metabolism.

Type 2 Diabetes, a disease which in the past only affected adults, now affects children of epidemic proportions.

Hungry For Change?

Consumers CAN and have changed the food industry. An industry’s irresponsible behavior can be changed. Farmers will deliver to the marketplace what the marketplace demands.Start demanding good, wholesome food and those farmers will deliver.Buy from companies that treat workers, animals and the environment with respect. When you go to the supermarket, choose foods that are in season and organic. Know what’s in your food. Read labels.
The average meal travels 1500  miles from farm to supermarket.Shop at local farmers markets, plant a garden (even a small one). Cook a meal with your family and eat together. Buy local. Even your lovable, organic companies like Tom’s is owned by Colgate, Kashi is owned by Kellogg’s.Everyone has a right to healthy food. Make sure your farmers market takes food stamps. Ask your school board to provide healthy lunches. The FDA and USDA are supposed to protect us.Tell congress to enforce food safety standards and reintroduce Kevin’s Law. If you say grace, ask for food that will keep us and the planet healthy.You can change the world with every bite. Go to www.takepart.com/foodinc