Archive for Detox

Improving tap water for better thyroid function


I don’t know about you, but I recently realized that I have not been paying close enough attention to the water I consume. I did drink from my carbon-filtered water, but the water I put into the kettle to boil for tea, in the coffee machine, into ice trays, or in the pot for rice or soup, I usually took straight from the tap.

So I decided to be religious about my water for the last while to see if I would notice a difference. And I did. Within 2 weeks my skin improved.

My whole life I have had these tiny dry-skin pimply-like bumps on the back of my upper arms and also on my thighs. I would call it my chicken skin. I went through phases where I would attempt to figure out what the problem was. I made sure my omega 3 levels were good, I dry brushed, I creamed, I drank more water … Nothing seemed to work. But since I became crazy vigilant about all water that enters my body there has been a noticeable difference, and I am now hopeful that my skin and maybe my health, will continue to improve.

Even though my water filter claims to reduce chlorine, I was not convinced it eliminated it completely, so figured I would let the chlorine gas escape before putting it through the filter. So, I put hot tap water in my 2 cup (500ml) measuring cup and let the water sit uncovered for half-an-hour before putting it through the filter. If you are using cold water instead of hot, it will probably take an hour (double the time) to do the job.

If your community uses chloramine instead of chlorine, that same 2 cups or 500ml of hot water will take 2.5 to 3 hours to de-gas.

Lately I have been using only the treated water to make anything that I am consuming. I did not decide to do this with the intention of improving my skin, but it is the happy result.

My intent was to help my thyroid. Chlorine, fluorine, bromine (another water disinfectant) and iodine are chemically-related compounds called halogens, and in the body they all compete for the iodine receptors. Our bodies need iodine, so when a different halogen occupies the iodine receptors, our thyroid is deprived of the iodine it needs to function properly.

In my neck of the woods, the water is not fluoridated, but if yours is and you want to remove the fluoride, you will need to look for a water filter that will do that.

If you have a thyroid issue it is possible that making sure the water you consume is free of chlorine and fluoride may at least move you in the healthier direction. Do make sure you are also eating foods that contain iodine.

I refuse to use common table-salt and instead use the Paludier Sea Salt which has not been iodized. So I make sure I eat at least 1 nori sheet (8″x7.5″ or 20.5cm x 19cm) per day. Wakame would be another great seaweed choice to get your daily iodine.

Well, that’s it for today. I have another school deadline coming up (thesis protocol), so I may be silent for a couple of months. Thank you for your patience with respect to my inconsistency in writing. I do appreciate it.

Let me know what you think of this and other topics. We are in this health-thing together!


Related tips:
Mercury, a strong nerve poison
Fluoridated water, boon or bane?
Choosing a water filtration system
Thyroid function and dysfunction

Comments off

Glyphosate (Round Up herbicide) in your Cheerios

Maybe you have used Round Up on your lawn, as it is a very common herbicide sold at Home Depot and other stores for home use. I imagine it is very effective.

Round-Up, otherwise known as glyphosate, is the most common herbicide used in North America, invented by and put onto the market by Monsanto. What they did is a truly brilliant for their bottom line.

Why, you ask? Monsanto is famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) for marketing genetically modified seed, particularly GMO Round-Up Ready canola, soy and corn. How they modified the seed was to make it resistant to their brand of herbicide, Round-Up or glyphosate.

So, they market their GMO seed, and also sell Round Up Ready herbicide, which kills everything but the plants that contain the modified genes.

Monsanto makes money on their GMO seed, and they make money on their herbicide. A perfect marriage. Personally, I don’t have a problem with businesses making money on their inventions – I admire innovation and find it amazing how much our world has changed even in the last 10 years.

But here is the thing. Glyphosate has been recently classified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s cancer branch, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

It is being sprayed on corn, canola, soy, cotton, sugar beet and alfalfa GM crops in greater and greater quantities, because as the years go by, the weeds that it is supposed to kill are becoming more and more resistant to the herbicide, and it takes more and more Round Up to do the job.

Round Up is also regularly sprayed on other crops such as wheat and oats just before harvest, a process called desiccation. By killing the crop first it allows the grains to dry down faster after harvest.

Consequently, glyphosate residue is everywhere in the food supply, as most of us eat wheat, soy, oats and canola every day in processed foods, such as breakfast cereals, cookies, cookies, and products containing canola or soybean oil. It is also found in animals that have been fed GM Round-Up ready grains.

Unintended consequences of spraying Round-Up Ready herbicide, include wind carrying the spray to other crops, run-off into water-ways harming stream life and birds, and although glyphosate is not really a pesticide, it does seem to impact the spatial-tracking ability of bees, making it harder for them to find their way back to their hives. Our bees are struggling enough without this added problem!

It is said that the poison is in the dosage, and the amounts of glyphosate in the foods is small. But we now know that often lower doses of a toxin disrupt endocrine function more than higher doses.

According to the University of California San Francisco, 93% of the population has glyphosate in their urine, and children have larger amounts than adults. With a steady daily drip of glyphosate entering our systems, it can’t be surprising that it may play a role in throwing off our hormones.

I have only scratched the surface of the issues around glyphosate and Round-Up herbicide. Research is pointing to the inert ingredients in the herbicide causing human cell death, and glyphosate may be implicated in the much larger rates of gluten and other food allergy in children, to highlight a couple of others that you may wish to research.

So, what can we do? Although probably almost impossible to eliminate glyphosate exposure altogether, there is a lot we can do to dramatically decrease the amounts we are exposed to. Choosing organic would make the biggest difference, as by definition organic crops are not sprayed with toxic herbicides like Round Up.

Read packaging labels carefully, and avoid conventional foods that contain canola, soy, corn, wheat and oats. And obviously, don’t spray the stuff in your own yard!

Related Tips:
Food, our raw material
Our toxic body burden

Balbuena MS Effects of sublethal doses of glyphosate on honeybee navigation. J Exp Biol. 2015 Sep;218(Pt 17):2799-805. doi: 10.1242/jeb.117291.

Benbrook CM Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globally. Environ Sci Eur. 2016;28(1):3.

Chou C. Quaker Oats on list of tainted oatmeals in FDA inspection The China Post May 27, 2016.

Alarming Levels of Glyphosate Contamination Found in Popular American Foods Nov. 2016.

Ecowatch Glyphosate Found in Urine of 93 Percent of Americans Tested May 29, 2016.

Gammon, Crystal Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells Scientific American Online June 23, 2009.

International Agency for Research on CancerIARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides World Health Organization, March 20, 2015

Alarming Levels of Glyphosate Contamination Found in Popular American Foods Nov. 2016.

Ecowatch Glyphosate Found in Urine of 93 Percent of Americans Tested May 29, 2016.

Gammon, Crystal Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells Scientific American Online June 23, 2009.

Samsel A, Seneff S Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases III: Manganese, neurological diseases, and associated pathologies Surg Neurol Int. 2015; 6: 45.

Copyright Vreni Gurd 2017

Comments off

Natural Pest Control: How it Benefits your Health and the Environment

A guest tip on natural pest control – an important topic that never would have occurred to me to write about. I hope you like it.

Coexisting with nature is a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t mean you have to allow critters to take over your home. Pest infestations can impact your family in a number of undesirable ways, creating an environment that’s unhealthy and, in many cases, downright intolerable. Fortunately, you don’t need to saturate your home with chemicals in order to keep pests at bay. By practicing natural pest control, you can encourage would-be intruders to live somewhere else while keeping your home, health, family, pets and the earth safe.

Negative Effects of Pest Infestations on Your Health

Stress: When you know your home is infested with rodents or insects, it’s hard to stop thinking about them. Your skin might crawl at the thought of bed bugs walking on you as you sleep, or you may start to feel phantom ants crawling across your arms. It’s normal to experience stress when your home is infested, and some homeowners still feel anxiety even after a pest control company has taken care of the problem. When you practice natural pest control, which focuses on prevention, you’ll find peace of mind in knowing you’re doing all you can to keep pests out.

Diseases: Rodents are notorious carriers of diseases such as the bubonic plague, Hanta virus, salmonellosis, tularemia, rat bite fever and leptospirosis. The scary thing is that a rodent doesn’t need to bite or touch you to pass on an illness. Simply being exposed to its droppings or nesting site can make you fall ill with, for example, the Hanta virus. Some of the diseases rodents carry present like the flu, making them initially difficult to properly diagnose until the illnesses are in their advanced stages.

Discomfort: What do mosquitoes, fleas and bed bugs have in common? Their bites make you feel itchy. While most insect bites are more annoying than harmful, scratching itchy spots can lead to a secondary infection.

Asthma triggers: Asthma is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in children and adults, and up to 60 percent of asthma sufferers are allergic to cockroaches. Merely touching a roach’s exoskeleton, which the bug can shed, can trigger an asthma attack. Using chemicals like toxic baits, fumigators or sprays to get rid of pests can trigger asthma symptoms and possibly make them worse than usual.

Toxic bites: Most spiders are harmless and meek, but there are a handful that can do major harm if they bite you. These include the recluse varieties, hobo, black widow, brown widow and red widow spiders.

Pest Prevention Tactics

The best way to practice natural pest control is by employing simple prevention techniques. These natural methods, when used regularly, can help you keep infestations at bay better than any toxic repellents. For example:

  • Don’t leave food out in the open.
  • Store pantry items in lidded glass or thick plastic containers.
  • Eliminate sources of standing water in and around your home.
  • Seal holes and cracks along the exterior of your home.
  • Use lids on your trash cans.
  • Keep your landscape mowed, pruned, weeded and manicured.
  • Clean your house regularly and keep it tidy.
  • Keep wood piles high, dry and away from your house.
  • Inspect your luggage for signs of bed bugs after traveling.
  • Inspect guest rooms for signs of bed bugs after you’ve had overnight visitors.
  • Plant insect-repelling plants and flowers around the exterior of your home, including mint, pennyroyal, petunias, tansy, rosemary, geraniums, marigolds, citronella and wormwood.

Home Infestations: What to Do

Pest infestations can happen in even the cleanest homes. The trick is quickly taking care of the problem by calling a green pest control company that practices Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM involves using knowledge of pest biology (with a bit of common sense thrown in) control pests. For example, technicians will identify the pests, get rid of their nesting sites, make it harder for the pests to access your home and use other natural pest control techniques to give you a healthy, critter-free environment. Green pest control companies use natural techniques whenever possible – in large part because they’re more effective both immediately and in the long term – and will choose the least-toxic treatments available when an application is necessary.

If you have a pest infestation, or think you have one, call a natural pest control company to schedule an inspection and learn personalized tips for keeping your home pest-free.

If you want to share this article, scroll to the very bottom and click the “share” icon to post on Facebook, Twitter etc.

If you want to subscribe or search for other posts by title or by topic, go to

This post was contributed by Eden Advanced Pest Technologies, the leading integrated pest management company in Western Washington and Oregon and serves both residential and commercial customers.

Copyright 2013 Eden Pest Control / Wellness Tips

To subscribe go to

Comments (2)

Detoxification – are cleanses the answer?


Many people decide to do detoxes or cleanses periodically, particularly after times of excess like the holiday season. How should one do this?

Many of us have experimented with detox kits purchased from health-food stores and noticed huge changes. Some dropped weight, and others found their skin cleared up. Some had to spend the first couple of days in the bathroom until their bodies got used to the new regimen, after which they felt fantastic.

Others felt ill during the entire cleanse and remained depleted afterwards. They probably would have been better off not doing the cleanse in the first place.

Our primary organs of detoxification are the liver, gall bladder, kidneys and the skin, and all in all, they do a fantastic job considering what they have to deal with in this day and age.

Every one of us has PCBs, mercury, BPA, flame retardants and a whole host of other very unhealthy chemicals in our bodies that are difficult to eliminate. Because of the overwhelming number of chemicals our bodies are now exposed to on a constant basis, it is not surprising our detoxification pathways may be having trouble keeping up.

So, to deal with the backlog of toxins, the body stores them in our body fat so they can't easily access sensitive areas that would be harmed by them. Stored toxins can be a reason some are unable to lose body fat, as releasing them may cause illness.

Toxins, whether they are heavy metals or other chemicals, or whether they are biotoxins from bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, impact cell membranes, deforming their shape and distorting their function, which wreaks havoc on body systems.

Heavy metals and biotoxins dissolve in fats, easily move through cell membranes and are attracted to fatty areas of the body like the brain and nervous system. This is why many that are chronically ill from neurotoxins can be diagnosed with a large variety of ailments, such as fibromyalgia, MS, ALS, depression, Parkinson’s, Autism.

Toxicity can also play a role in cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes without family history, IBS, infertility, and Rheumatoid arthritis.

I think the best approach to detoxification is 1) preventing problems through reducing exposure to toxins as much as possible 2) supporting the body’s detox pathways through nutrition and lifestyle 3) detoxification protocols if necessary.

1) Reducing toxin exposure: The fewer toxins we come in contact with, the easier it is for our bodies to cope. Although we can’t possibly eliminate contact with all chemicals, we can reduce our exposure significantly by being picky about our personal-care products, cleaning products, paints and enamels, and our food, as well as avoiding omega 6 vegetable oils, plastics and unnecessary medications.

2) Nutrition and Lifestyle: Most of the time along with the capsules in a detox kit comes a suggested diet. I think the change in diet is key to the success of some of these cleanses, and to encourage better function of the detox pathways as well as to avoid negative reactions, starting the diet well ahead of the capsules is probably a good idea. Consider the diet alone to be the cleanse, and see what happens.

Generally we have an easier time wrapping our head around eating clean for 10 to 14 days and we can easily commit to that time-frame. A cleanse diet would see the elimination of sugar, white flour, alcohol, caffeine, processed and packaged food.

Pesticide/herbicide-free produce would be encouraged. Eating some food raw daily is a good idea. Factory-farmed meat and dairy are reduced or eliminated, so the hormones and antibiotics in those foods don’t enter the digestive tract either.

Fish is usually suggested which increases omega 3 intake and can improve health as long as the fish is not high in mercury.

If there are problems in the liver and gall bladder, and the bile does not flow, neurotoxins can get stuck in biliary sludge rather than being excreted in the feces. Low-fat diets, high processed-carbohydrate diets, fasting, and/or exposure to pathogens may stop bile from moving.
Eating a whole, unprocessed food diet that contains adequate healthy fats can get that bile moving again.

Balance between omega 6 and omega 3 is vital. Most people over-consume omega 6 due to high intake of vegetable oils and grains, but many on a health kick may potentially under consume omega 6 if they supplement with too much omega 3, and avoid grains, nuts and seeds. The optimal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is 4:1.

If the body is deficient in certain important minerals, heavy metals are used as a “stand in”. For example, the stand-in for calcium is lead, which is deposited into bones causing osteoporosis and impairing red-blood cell synthesis.

Zinc is replaced with cadmium, which accumulates in the kidneys. Manganese is replaced by nickel which is a known carcinogen, and magnesium is replaced with aluminum which is implicated in Alzheimer’s.

Magnesium itself is a very potent detoxifier because it is utilized in many different detox pathways in the body. Glutathione, an antioxidant normally produced by the body and a detoxifier of mercury, lead and arsenic among others, requires magnesium for its synthesis.

As Dr. Carolyn Dean in her book The Magnesium Miracle explains, “Research indicates that ample magnesium will protect brain cells from the damaging effects of aluminum, beryllium, cadmium, lead, mercury and nickel. We also know that low levels of brain magnesium contribute to the deposition of heavy metals in the brain that heralds Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

It appears that the metals compete with magnesium for entry into the brain cells. If magnesium is low, metals gain access much more readily. There is also competition in the small intestine for absorption of minerals. If there is enough magnesium, aluminum won’t be absorbed.”

Magnesium deficiency is very common, as it is difficult to get adequate amounts from food due to our depleted soils. The best food sources of magnesium are kelp and other sea vegetables, nettles, chickweed, unrefined sea salt, and bone broths. Baths using Epsom salts can increase magnesium levels too albeit very temporarily.

Usually supplementation dosages in the range of 3 to 10mg per pound of bodyweight are recommended, and if magnesium citrate or magnesium malate cause too much of a laxative effect, one can try magnesium taurate or glycinate.

Another option is ionic magnesium in liquid form from Trace Mineral Research, which can be added to water, soups etc. throughout the day.

Those with kidney issues or bowel obstruction need to consult their physician before supplementing with magnesium.

Supporting the body includes the dilution solution – drinking lots and lots of pure water that has been filtered of chlorine, fluoride and other contaminants. Then through urine, sweat and breathing some toxins can be eliminated.

Exercise is important as well in a number of ways. Sweating directly aids in detoxification, and deforming the body through exercise also aids peristalsis in the digestive tract, helping to prevent constipation. Improved circulation makes the entire body function better.

Detoxification methods: Because detoxification protocols actually cause toxins to be released, it is important to have incorporated the above ideas first, and to be healthy before starting on a detox program. You need some reserves that your body can draw on to cope. Otherwise you will just feel very sick.

Using an infrared-light sauna regularly is very effective as a detox tool, as the heat penetrates much deeper into the tissues than a regular sauna would, raising the core temperature, increasing circulation which results in enhanced sweating.

The skin is the body’s largest organ, and forcing the body to sweat regularly can improve the skin’s ability to do its job. One can sweat out heavy metals, chemicals and other toxins helping to relieve the burden on the liver and kidneys.

Also, regularly raising the body temperature can help kill off parasites, viruses and fungi which some people can’t successfully eliminate due to a hypothyroid condition resulting in too low a body temperature.

Be certain to replace the water and minerals you sweat out by drinking pure filtered water mixed with a pinch of unrefined, sundried sea salt, and or perhaps take some kelp tablets or trace minerals.

Mercury from amalgam fillings can create a toxicity problem for many, and the only real solution is to get them removed by a biological dentist who knows how to do this safely.

Mercury is unfortunately also found in many fish, particularly the bottom dwellers like halibut, and also in tuna. Avoiding high-mercury fish is a good idea.

Chlorella, a fresh-water seaweed that can be found in health food stores in the form of a greens powder or in capsules, is excellent at removing heavy metals like mercury from the body. The herb cilantro works well too.

Once the preparatory work is done, the herbal detox formulas found in health food stores may be all that is needed.

Sometimes general detox protocols are not enough. If you are quite ill and you believe that part of the reason is a toxicity problem, it is worth being tested by a lab such as Biohealth Diagnostics. Once the toxin(s) are identified, specific protocols can be implemented to eliminate the problem.

Please do keep the comments coming! If you want to share this article, scroll to the very bottom and click the “share” icon to post on Facebook, Twitter etc. If you want to subscribe or search for other posts by title or by topic, go to

Related tips:
Our toxic body burden
Which plastic water bottles don’t leach chemicals?
Estrogens and toxins in our soaps and lotions
Chemicals in our canned food liners
Mercury, a strong nerve poison
Teflon is hazardous to our health
Artificial sweeteners

John Foster, M.D., Patricia Kane, Ph.D., Neal Speight, M.D. The Detoxx System: Detoxification of Biotoxins in Chronic Neurotoxic Syndrome, Aug. 9, 2003.

Katherine Czapp Magnificent Magnesium www/

by Lawrence Wilson, MD INFRARED SAUNA THERAPY Jan. 2010

Copyright 2010 / 2013 Vreni Gurd

Comments (3)

How genetically-engineered trees can harm our health


I had no idea that GMO trees existed until about a month ago, and my first reaction was – what's the big deal? I forgot about the fruit from trees, so I didn't immediately understand the dangers they pose. GMO trees are currently being grown for fruit, pulp and paper in 100 to 150 test plots around the US today, especially in the south. They are also grown in other hot countries around the world. This article is based on the short documentary narrated by Dr. David Suzuki called “A Silent Forest”.

Unlike carefully breeding animals or plants of the same species to bring out specific desirable traits through many generations (vertical inheritance), genetic modification involves inserting the DNA of one species into another completely unrelated species to create something that could never happen through cross-pollination or hybridization (horizontal inheritance).

The biotechnologists have no real control over where the genes of one species are going to land within the genome of the other species, and they have absolutely no idea of what the expression of that gene will be in the context of its new, unrelated genome. And they also have no idea what the unintended consequences might be of the new creation on the environment, and on the insects, plants and animals that might interact with it.

The trees are being modified in a number of different ways. One modification is to insert the genes of a bacteria called bacillus thuringiensus (Bt) into the DNA of the tree in order to make it pest resistant. Bt toxin is expressed in every cell within the tree, including the root, trunk, leaf and flower from the time it sprouts and throughout the plant’s entire life. The idea is that by making the tree toxic to insects, one would not need to use chemical insecticides.

However, the insects that are not killed by the Bt toxin breed with each other so with each insect generation they are becoming more resistant to the toxin. Therefore, stronger or more powerful chemicals are required in order to control these “super insects” than had the trees not been genetically modified in the first place. The other unintended consequence is that non-targeted insects are also killed off, like ladybugs and monarch butterflies, which have dropped 75 percent since the introduction of Bt corn.

Trees live for a very long time, and will be putting out this toxin and killing insects their entire life cycle. Will Bt toxin concentrate in the tissues of animals that eat the insects and the animals that eat those animals in the same way DDT did? We don’t know. Insects are vital for pollination of plants, for predation and as food for other species, so eliminating insects will have a devastating effect on life that relies on them. We are already concerned about the diminishing bee population so is it really a good idea to eliminate other insects that pollinate plants? What animal species will die out once the insects are gone? What other animals higher up the food chain will be threatened or become extinct?

Apparently it is already known that Bt toxin leaches into the soil altering the microbial community, and contaminating soil as well as ground and surface water far away from where the Bt trees and corn were originally grown. How many community water supplies near fields of GMO corn have been contaminated with Bt toxin?

There is more and more evidence that Bt crops like corn can cause allergies and respiratory problems in humans. Tree pollen can travel for hundreds of miles, so the health impacts for humans of Bt trees might be significant. Cornell University is growing GMO apple trees, and there is a real risk of allergic reaction in those that unknowingly eat them, as GMO foods are still unlabelled.

Hawaii is dealing with the problem of spot fungus on the GMO papayas they are growing, and farmers have found that instead of saving themselves money by planting the GMO variety, they are spending much more in toxic fungicides which they need to spray on their crops every 10 days. Needless to say, spraying so frequently must be taking its toll on the health of the farmers as well.

There is evidence of cancer in animals fed GMO food, and when one considers that GMO corn has the bt toxin in each cell of the plant, one must wonder what the cumulative effect of our consuming that toxin might be. This is why I have repeatedly suggested that if we are going to eat corn or corn-containing products, probably better to choose organic to avoid the unlabelled GMO varieties.

Another genetic modification that is being used in trees is to make them resistant to Round Up, the herbicide containing glyphosate that is manufactured by Monsanto. This means that any plant that contains this gene won’t be killed by the herbicide. This modification is also widely used in canola crops all over North America. Since the crop won’t be affected, it is known that farmers that plant Round-Up Ready crops spray their crops with three times the amount of herbicide than those that use the GM variety.

Glyphosate is extremely harmful to the soil, earthworms, birds and animals that come in contact with it, and it runs into waterways impacting larger animals that drink from them. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, commercial agricultural chemicals that are sprayed onto crops and run off into streams and rivers are the largest polluters of waterways.

Farmers that are regularly exposed to glyphosate have higher incidence of miscarriage, pre-mature births, and non-hodgkins lymphoma. Regularly spraying forests with glyphosate would be devastating to the forest ecosystem, killing off all underbrush and endangering the animals that use that underbrush as habitat.

Another problem is that the pollen from trees can travel for hundreds of miles, contaminating native forests with the various GMO variants. Many organic papaya farmers in Hawaii have lost their certification due to contamination from the GMO papaya crops due to wind-carried pollen. It would not take long for single US GMO-tree plantation to contaminate all the forests in North America.

So, biotechnology’s solution is to implant a sterility gene into the tree genome so that it can’t reproduce. They have been talking about using the sterility gene in food crops too. If there is any problem with this terminator technology, there is the possibility of the sterility gene being spread to native species potentially killing forests. Even Monsanto says they can’t guarantee 100 percent sterility or that the technology will work all the time.

So, a tree plantation with these GMO traits would have no insects, would have no undergrowth and would be filled with toxic herbicide chemicals. 95 percent of the trees would be sterile, so would have no pollen, seeds, fruit or other food for animals or birds to eat, so none would be living there. The 5 percent of trees that are not sterile would be contaminating the neighbouring native forests with the implanted genes, creating larger areas without life.

Because most of the trees would be sterile, their energy would be directed to growth rather than reproduction, resulting in overuse of ground water, drying out the land creating desert. This would impact the viability of other crops as well as reduce the water available for livestock, potentially increasing hunger in indigenous populations. Self-sustaining communities would be forced to leave the land due to the drying up of soil caused by neighbouring GMO tree plantations.

And of course there is the legal issue. So far, the courts have ruled that life can be owned and treated as a commodity. According to legal precedents, the contaminated trees would become the property of Monsanto no matter whose land they are on. Farmers have been charged and prosecuted by Monsanto for GMO plants found on their property even though the seeds got there via the wind, birds or flooding.

Furthermore, even if only a small percentage of a crop is contaminated, the courts have ruled that the entire crop then belongs to the biotech company. So farmers can lose their rights to their property overnight through no fault of their own should Monsanto decide to enforce its patent rights. In the case of trees, Monsanto would gain control of private as well as government land. So what might that mean for national parks? Is this what we want?

In summary, GMO trees are a threat to all animal and plant life in the forests of the world, including the forests themselves as they use up the available water. Glyphosate and Bt toxin threaten insect, plant, animal and human health and we will be unable to stop these toxins from contaminating other plants, soils and the ground water. Hopefully it is not already too late to put the genie back in the bottle, but if we value life on this planet we need to try.

As consumers, we can use our purchasing power to choose wood and paper products that are not made from GMO trees. Kinko’s Copies use non-GMO paper, so support them, and tell the big companies like Home Depot to switch to non-GMO sources of wood and paper products if they want your business. Ultimately, if there is no market for the GMO products, the biotech companies will be forced to stop producing the GMO seeds. Please watch the 45 minute documentary entitled “The Silent Forest” for a more complete understanding of this issue.

If you want to share this article, scroll to the very bottom and click the “share” icon to post on Facebook, Twitter etc. If you want to subscribe or search for other posts by title or by topic, go to

Related tips:
GMO – crossing the species barrier
Deceptive food labeling

David Suzuki The Silent Forest

Copyright 2010 Vreni Gurd

Comments (2)

Estrogens and toxins in our soaps and lotions


Our world is now filled with estrogenic and toxic chemicals which are fattening us up and giving us cancer. And many of those estrogens and toxins we are smearing onto our skin, hair and underarms voluntarily.

Okay, everyone. Go into your bathroom and pull out your shampoos, conditioners, soaps, hand sanitizers, body wash, mouth wash, bubble baths, baby wipes, exfoliants, deodorants and/or antiperspirants, any lotions and creams including those for shaving, hair products, sun screens, perfumes and colognes, powders, toothpaste and cosmetics including nail polish and let’s see if any of these products might be implicated in stubborn fat on the thighs and hips for women, and man-boobs for men.

Too much estrogen is implicated in breast, cervical and uterine cancers not to mention PMS in women, and erectile dysfunction and low sperm counts in men. Even if you don’t have these problems, check your products because they might be carcinogenic.

Now that you have all these products on your coffee table, get your garbage container and put it next to you so you can chuck any offending products right away.

The quick and most effective test is to ask yourself if you would eat the product. If your immediate reaction is “no way”, then that tells you it is probably not healthy to put on your skin either.

At least our digestive tracts have some capacity to break down or eliminate toxins. Anything that is put on the skin goes straight into the blood stream and has access to every part of your body very quickly. In other words, it is safer to eat our toxins than to smear them on our skin.

Time for the "read and toss" exercise. If you see these ingredients in your product, toss the product into your garbage can.

  • Parabens – highly estrogenic endocrine disruptors
    • methyl paraben
    • ethyl paraben
    • propyl paraben
    • butyl paraben
    • isobutyl paraben
    • E216
  • Phthalates – potent endocrine disruptors especially effecting babies and children
    • DBP (dibutyl phthalate)
    • DEP (diethyl phthalate)
    • PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
  • Aluminum salts – estrogenic and toxic, often found in deodorants/antiperspirants.
  • Sodium laureth / (Sodium) lauryl sulfate – skin irritant, potential carcinogen
    • SLS, SLES
    • Click here and view box on right to see how else this is listed.
  • Diethanolamine (DEA) – skin irritant, potential carcinogen
    • Cocamide DEA
    • Cocamide MEA
    • DEA-Cetyl Phosphate
    • DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate
    • Lauramide DEA
    • Linoleamide MEA
    • Myristamide DEA
    • Oleamide DEA
    • Stearamide MEA
    • TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
    • Triethanolamine
  • Hexachlorophene – highly toxic and banned in many jurisdictions
  • triclosan – thyroid endocrine disruptor, toxin that bioaccumulates

The personal care industry is very poorly regulated and very few ingredients have been thoroughly tested for safety. Choosing “natural” or “organic” products is no guarantee either, as there is no regulation as to what those labels mean when it comes to personal care products.

Do you have any products left on your coffee table? Probably not many. So, what CAN one use?

  • Soaps
  • Shampoos
    • Add rosemary oil to non-chemical soaps
  • Moisturizer, make-up remover
    • coconut oil, olive oil
  • Deodorant
    • soap and water
  • Toothpaste
  • Fragrances
    • Essential oils
  • Exfoliants
    • Mix coarse ingredients like coffee grounds or salt with moist ingredients like honey or yogurt

Often these fancy schmancy creams and lotions are very expensive considering the miniscule amount of product one gets for the price. Extra virgin coconut oil may seem expensive as a food, but as a moisturizer it is dirt cheap! And it has antibacterial and antifungal properties too.

So making the switch to safer products not only reduces the toxic and estrogenic body burden, but also reduces the strain on the wallet.

If you want to share this article, scroll to the very bottom and click the “share” icon to post on Facebook, Twitter etc. If you want to subscribe or search for other posts by title or by topic, go to

Related tips:
Our toxic body burden
Which hormone is responsible for your fat distribution?
Which plastic water bottles don’t leach chemicals?
Chemicals in canned food liners
Breast and prostate cancer prevention
The soy controversy

Darbre PD et al. Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours. J Appl Toxicol. 2004 Jan-Feb;24(1):5-13.

El Hussein S et al. Assessment of principal parabens used in cosmetics after their passage through human epidermis-dermis layers (ex-vivo study). Exp Dermatol. 2007 Oct;16(10):830-6.

Vo TT, Jeung EB. An evaluation of estrogenic activity of parabens using uterine calbindin-d9k gene in an immature rat model. Toxicol Sci. 2009 Nov;112(1):68-77. Epub 2009 Aug 4.

Canadian Cancer Society Phthalates

CTV News Health Canada statement on phthalates

Schettler T. Human exposure to phthalates via consumer products. Int J Androl. 2006 Feb;29(1):134-9; discussion 181-5.

About phthalates Our stolen future

Main KM et al. Human breast milk contamination with phthalates and alterations of endogenous reproductive hormones in infants three months of age. Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Feb;114(2):270-6.

López-Carrillo L et al. Exposure to phthalates and breast cancer risk in northern Mexico. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Apr;118(4):539-44.

Habert R et al. Adverse effects of endocrine disruptors on the foetal testis development: focus on the phthalates. Folia Histochem Cytobiol. 2009;47(5):S67-74.

Potential Link Between Aluminum Salts In Deodorants And Breast Cancer Warrants Further Research Medical News Today, Mar. 2, 2006.

Darbre P D. Metalloestrogens: An Emerging Class of Inorganic Xenoestrogens with Potential to Add to the Oestrogenic Burden of the Human Breast. Journal of Applied Toxicology 2006; DOI:10.1002/jat.1135

Sodium Laureth Sulphate Cosmetic Database

Sodium Laureth Sulfate David Suzuki Foundation

Diethanolamine(DEA): A Carcinogenic Ingredient in Cosmetics & Personal Products Cancer Prevention Coalition

Diethanolamine FDA US Food and Drug Administration

Diethanolamine Cosmetic Database


Cosmetic Database

Pitman, Simon Potential dangers of Triclosan back under spotlight Cosmetics Design Europe, Dec. 5, 2008.

Bird, Katie, Triclosan included in NGO’s chemical risk list Cosmetics Design Europe, Sept. 18, 2008.

Triclosan Cosmetic Database

Stoker TE et al. Triclosan exposure modulates estrogen-dependent responses in the female Wistar rat Toxicol Sci. 2010 Jun 18. [Epub ahead of print]

Zorrilla LM et al. The effects of triclosan on puberty and thyroid hormones in male Wistar rats Toxicol Sci. 2009 Jan;107(1):56-64. Epub 2008 Oct 21

Copyright 2010 Vreni Gurd

Comments (6)

Sigg comes clean on BPA in their water bottle liners


For a couple of years at least, consumers have been abandoning their plastic reusable water bottles in favour of metal ones in order to avoid the endocrine disruptor BPA.

Retail stores reacted to customer concerns about BPA, and pulled the hard polycarbonate plastic bottles from their store shelves and replaced them with metal bottles, such as those made by the Swiss company, Sigg. This was completely a consumer-driven change.

Nalgene, along with other plastic water bottle manufacturers that for years had declared that there were no health issues related to BPA, were forced to take the BPA out of their bottles due to consumer demand. It was not until October of 2008 that the Canadian government declared BPA a “hazardous substance”, and it was placed on the toxic substance list.

Then in March 2009, the US put through legislation that forbids the sale of “any bottle, cup, or other container that contains bisphenol A if the container is designed or intended to be filled with any liquid, food or beverage primarily for consumption from that container by children three years of age or younger.”

According to the Canadian Gazette, “On March 16, 2009, in the United States, a bill to ban the use of bisphenol A in food containers, and for other purposes was introduced for the second time in the House of Representatives.” BPA is particularly hazardous to infants, and many countries have now banned it from sippy cups, liners of infant formula containers, baby toys etc.

Metal water bottle manufacturers were the huge beneficiary of the BPA problem, and the whimsical Sigg bottles became extremely popular. Over a year ago, a CBC reporter asked a Sigg representative point blank if the bottle liner contained BPA, and the answer he received to the question was “No”.

However, we know that was not the truth, as Sigg has now come clean and admitted to the world that their bottle liners contained BPA until August 2008, after which they were replaced by a BPA-free liner. Today, when I was in the store that sold me my bottle, I noticed that all the Sigg bottles were pulled from the shelves.

Sigg, in an effort to save face, is offering an exchange program where consumers can send in their Sigg bottles with the old liner for a replacement with the new liner, at the consumer’s expense for shipping. I bought my Sigg bottle in July 2009, and it still has the old liner, so just because you purchased your bottle recently does not guarantee you’ve got the BPA-free one.

If you own a Sigg bottle and are concerned, check which liner you've got by referring  to these pictures. The old liner is coppery in colour, whereas the new one is yellowish. Make sure you download the labels they want you to use, to ensure a smooth exchange.

My water bottle / BPA post that I wrote a few years back was extremely popular, and I got many questions with respect to the safety of particular brands of water bottles, Sigg being one of them frequently asked about. I apologize if I steered anyone wrong – I did not know that Sigg bottle liners contained BPA and find it astonishing that they would, since people were moving to metal bottles in order to specifically avoid that chemical.

According to Sigg, their new bottles are BPA free. I do wish that as consumers we could trust companies to use materials that are not implicated in health concerns, and I’m sure there are some reputable companies out there, but how is a consumer to know which companies to trust?

Just to let those of you in the Vancouver Lower Mainland know, I am going to run my popular Nutrition Seminar again on Sept. 23, ’09 from 7-10pm. If you are confused about nutrition with all of the conflicting information out there, come out and learn some simple strategies to know instantly whether or not a particular food is healthy. Click here to find out details and how to register.

If you want to subscribe or search for other posts by title or by topic, go to

Related Tips:
Which plastic water bottles don’t leach chemicals?
Plastic water bottle update
Chemicals in canned food liners

Comments (3)

Chemicals in canned food liners


BPA, the chemical found in hard polycarbonate plastic water bottles is also in the liners of canned food.

I’ve noticed a big change at the gym I work out of – those colourful hard plastic water bottles have become an endangered species, due to the risk of bisphenol A (BPA) leaching into the water.

Everyone appears to be switching to the stainless-steel variety, which seems to me to be a much better choice. Many families have stopped using baby bottles and sippy cups made from #7 plastic to feed their infants and toddlers.

Europe has banned the substance in items for children under the age of 3, and Health Canada indicated that it is adding BPA to its toxic substance list.

When huge outdoor-gear companies like Mountain Equipment Coop listen to their customers' concerns and decide to stop selling the offending water bottles, and the companies that make them (like Nalgene), suddenly lose very large orders, they take notice and change.

Nalgene, which always did have alternatives to the no. 7 lexan water bottles, is now going out of its way to promote BPA-free alternatives, whereas in the past they tended to dismiss the concerns as baseless. We reached the tipping point, where concerned consumers have made BPA in water bottles unsellable. Congratulations, everyone!!!

This is the way positive change can happen – consumers have more power than governments to change corporate practice by choosing where they spend their money. Now we need to do this on the food front.

A quick review for those that may have missed my earlier articles on BPA in water bottles.

Bisphenol A is a xeno-estrogen and therefore an endocrine disruptor, meaning it is a chemical that mimics estrogen in the body, thereby messing up our normal hormone messaging. Synthetic xeno-estrogens are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children.

BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. For more of the science on the effects of BPA on our endocrine system etc. see these studies: Environmental Health Perspectives Journal.

So, have we resolved the BPA problem? Far from it. It is still being used in the resin that lines canned food.

Liquid infant formula sold in cans would be the most problematic, as any BPA leached would have a bigger relative effect on a small baby. According to a recent Globe and Mail article, Health Canada tested 21 cans of liquid formula and found every one to be positive for BPA in amounts ranging from 2.3ppb to 10.6ppb.

If you can't breastfeed and you no longer want to use canned liquid infant formula, I highly recommend you purchase the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, and use her infant formula recipes located near the back of the book.

Your baby will thrive on these formulas much better than on canned or powdered formula. And the book is a wonderful cookbook full of nourishing recipes for you and your family.

Foods are heated in the can to destroy microbes, and the heating process causes the BPA to leach into the food.

Acid foods like canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and apple juice leach more BPA into the food than non-acidic foods. Examples of canned foods that tested positive for BPA in the Globe and Mail/CTV study included:

  • Hunts Tomato Sauce
  • Chef Boyardee
  • Mini Beef Ravioli
  • Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Allen's Apple Juice
  • Unico Tomatoes
  • Molson Dry Beer
  • Labatts Ice Beer,
  • Heinz Tomato Juice
  • ZoodlesBeans
  • Beans with pork and tomato sauce
  • Green Giant Cream Styled Corn
  • Del Monte peas and carrots

All the food companies involves said that they felt the BPA levels were too low to be of concern, just as the water bottle companies had stated previously.

Replacing canned food with fresh food will improve one's health, not just because of the reduced exposure to BPA, but also because fresh food contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes that get destroyed in the heating process of canning.

Sorry if I sound like a broken record, but to be healthy we need to eat REAL food, not processed food that comes from a factory.

Please do keep the comments coming!

Related tips
Which plastic water bottles don’t leach chemicals?
Plastic water bottle update
Processed food is taking over our supermarkets
The soy controversy
Our toxic body burden

Mittelstaedt, Martin The hidden chemical in cans The Globe and Mail, May 29, 2008

Chek, Paul; How to
Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
Chek Institute, San Diego, CA, 2004.

Doheny, Brenda;
  Nalgene Plastics May be Harmful
 online at Oregan State Daily

“Bisphenol A Exposure Causes Meiotic Aneuploidy in the Female Mouse”
, Vol 14, 546-553, 1 April 2003.

vom Saal, Frederick and Hughes, Claude;
 ”An Extensive New Literature Concerning Low-Dose Effects of Bisphenol A
Shows the Need for a New Risk Assessment”
 Environmental Health
Vol. 113, No. 8, August 2005.

Copyright 2008 Vreni Gurd

To see posts by title, go to

Comments (7)

Cell phones and our health


There is a growing body of evidence of harm from long-term use of cell phones, and although the jury is still out, it may be wise to heed the early warning signs.

Although I have heard the warnings and the reassurances with respect to cell-phone safety and have been meaning to write about this topic for some time, it has taken me this long to broach this topic because I feel a bit like I am walking on foreign territory – something I don’t understand too fully, and am trying to wrap my head around. So I will present what I have found, and you can follow the resource links and make up your own mind. I use my cell phone daily, but am now trying to get into the habit of using the speaker phone option, rather than holding the phone to my head. Once again, I figure better safe than sorry.

The radiation the cell phones emit is between 1 and 3 Watts, in the microwave range, and that radiation DOES get absorbed by the head, or whatever body part is nearest the phone. Initially the concern was that this radiation heated the cells causing damage, but from the resources I’ve looked at, it looks like the body is able to dispel the heat quite easily. Based on that knowledge, claims to cell-phone safety have been made.

However, the radiation emitted from the phone is pulsed, and apparently very similar to the electrical oscillations sent within the brain (alpha and delta brain waves). Our body is a very sensitive electrochemical system, so it seems reasonable that radio waves from external sources at similar frequencies to our internal frequencies may interfere with our bioelectrical systems, in much the same way that cell phones interfere with airplane controls and hospital equipment. One can induce a seizure in photo-sensivitive epileptics by flashing a light at 15hz. The seizure is not caused by a reaction to the heat of the light, but rather by how the brain interprets or recognizes the frequency of the impulses. So it is the similarity to the frequencies commonly used within the body, confusing the body which may be problematic. One of the frequencies used by cell phones seems to be similar to one that induces cell division in the body, perhaps explaining the links between cell-phone use and brain cancer. Other EMF studies have shown links to Alzheimers, leukemia, ALS, breast cancer, blood pressure, heart disease, fertility, miscarriage, joint pain, migraines, fatigue, concentration difficulties, increased reaction time, and sleep disorders.

Children under the age of 16 are particularly vulnerable because their skulls are thinner and much smaller, increasing the radiation absorption. And if they are using cell phones at such a young age, they will have many more years of exposure than if they were starting later, potentially exacerbating the damage, as studies seem to indicate that the longer the exposure, the heavier the use, the more likely a problem. Some people may be far more sensitive to this electromagnetic pollution than others, and Bluetooth handsets actually increase rather than reduce exposure. Since radio frequencies are known to disrupt melatonin production, if you have difficulty sleeping, it may be worth getting a land line, rather than having a cordless or a cell phone, to reduce exposure. If you have a cell phone, carry it in your briefcase, knapsack or purse rather than in a pocket.

To check the the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) (the quantity of radiofrequency energy that is absorbed by your body) of your cell phone,
click here.

Comments and feed-back keep most writers going, so please do comment!

Related tips
Microwave ovens: convenience vs. health and nutrition
Neat little kitchen trick

Online at Cell Phone Radiation Levels

BBC News Mobile phones ‘may trigger Alzheimer’s’ Feb. 5, 2003.

Hardell L et al. Long-term use of cellular phones and brain tumours: increased risk associated with use for > or =10 years. Occup Environ Med. 2007 Sep;64(9):626-32. Epub 2007 Apr 4.

Kan P et al. Cellular phone use and brain tumor: a meta-analysis. J Neurooncol. 2008 Jan;86(1):71-8. Epub 2007 Jul 10.

Hours M et al. Cell Phones and Risk of brain and acoustic nerve tumours: the French INTERPHONE case-control study Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique. 2007 Oct;55(5):321-32. Epub 2007 Sep 11.

Mild KH et al. Pooled analysis of two Swedish case-control studies on the use of mobile and cordless telephones and the risk of brain tumours diagnosed during 1997-2003. Int J Occup Saf Ergon. 2007;13(1):63-71.

Kundi M et al. Mobile telephones and cancer–a review of epidemiological evidence J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2004 Sep-Oct;7(5):351-84.

World Health Organization 2003 WHO research agenda for radio frequency fields

Agarwal, Ashok et al.
Effect of Cell Phone Usage on Semen Analysis in Men Attending Infertility Clinic: an Observational Study Fertility and Sterility 89 (2008): 124-128.

Huber, Reto et al. Exposure to Pulsed High-Frequency Electromagnetic Field During Waking Affects Human Sleep EEG NeuroReport 11 (2000): 3321-3325.

Oftedal, G, et al. Symptoms Experienced in Connection with Mobile Phone Use Occupational Medicine 50 (2000): 237-245.

Youbicier-Simo BJ, Bastide M. Pathological effects induced by embryonic and postnatal exposure to EMFs radiation by cellular mobile phones (written evidence to IEGMP). Radiat Protect 1999; 1: 218-23.

Braune S et al. Resting blood pressure increase during exposure to a radio-frequency electromagnetic field. Lancet 1998;351:1857–8.

Borbely AA et al. Pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic field affects human sleep and sleep electroencephalogram. Neurosci Lett 1999; 275: 207-10.

Copyright 2008 Vreni Gurd

To see the post titles by category go to

Comments (6)

Drinking and passing out


What should you do if your friend or relative passes out from over-drinking? What should you do if you have had a bit too much to drink yourself?

A client of mine told me this story about a friend of hers that needlessly passed away, and I thought that there was a lesson here that we could all benefit from. There is a lot of publicity around the idea of not drinking and driving, but I haven’t seen anything in the media about the potential dangers of drinking and passing out.

If you have taken first aid, you know that when someone is unconscious, that person needs to be placed in the recovery position, or on their side with their head tilted back slightly, but the face pointing towards the floor. The reason for this is to drain any vomit.

My client’s friend responsibly took himself home after drinking too much, laid on his back on his bed, passed out, then suffocated to death on his own vomit. Probably if he had been lying on his side, he would be alive today. So, the moral of the story is, if your friend passes out, place him on his side, face angled towards the floor slightly. You may just be saving a life. And if you think you have had a bit too much to drink, lie yourself down on your side when you go to sleep, just to be safe.

Perhaps this info should be taught in the schools? What do you think?

Related tips
Our toxic body burden

Copyright 2008 Vreni Gurd

Comments (3)

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »