Monday, April 07, 2008

A Daunting List

In my pursuit of New Year's resolution #2, I have slowly begun the snowballing effort of evaluating our food, home, resources, habits, and life. It seems that I can't zone in on one area, eating organic, for example, without several others popping up: green living, local eating, hormone free, grass fed, raw, etc.

Here is a recent list of things that I have learned about and am now trying to muster up an opinion.


Pesticides are bad for you. Poison for bugs becomes poison for humans when it soaks into the plants we eat.

Hormones in meat and dairy are bad for you. They lead to premature development in girls and have been linked to female cancers.

MSG (called many things including natural flavors) is bad for you. It can cause seizures, brain damage, and eye damage, and has been shown to promote obesity and diabetes in lab rats.

High fructose corn syrup (HSFC) is bad for you. An unnatural sweetener that isn't processed well by the body and leads to obesity.

Aspartame is bad for you. Studies have shown that it is stored in our bodies and turns into a formaldehyde type preservative.

Hydrogenated oils are bad for you. A cheap alternative to butter, they are heated oils that don't meet your bodies' need for fats and just get stored.

Most cooking oils (except for olive, coconut, and cold pressed) are bad for you and all go rancid quickly outside of the refrigerator. Corn oil is used to cause tumors when experimenting on rats and can impair immune function, soy wrecks havoc with the thyroid, and so on.

Homogenized and pasteurized dairy is bad for you. Although if it it is free of growth hormones it is slightly better for you, the homogenization and pasteurization process robs milk of it's natural, healthy properties (sometimes still found in yogurts, etc.). Raw milk is so much better for you.

White flour is bad for you. At least it contains nothing good in it and sometimes has harmful additives.

White sugar is bad for you. When honey and maple syrup are available full of natural minerals, overly processed sugar is an empty alternative.

Aluminum in food (baking power, salt, etc.), cans, deodorant, and cooking tools (pans, foil, etc.) is bad for you. Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's and other brain disorders.

Teflon non-stick cook wear is bad for you. Well, it's fine until it's heated. The fumes of the chemical breakdown can cause cancer and organ damage.

Plastics 1 (soft drink bottles, etc.), 3 (cling wrap, peanut butter jars, etc.), 6 (Styrofoam), and some 7s (polycarbonates [BPA]: sports bottles, baby bottles) are bad for you especially when heated up and/or combined with liquids. These chemicals are linked to brain dysfunctions, infertility, miscarriage, cancers, and a whole slew of harmful effects.

Microwaves are bad for you. Recently, scientists have learned that baby formula changes composition when heated by a microwave. What is it doing to the rest of our food and the area in which it operates?

Fluoride is bad for you. Found in drinking water, toothpaste, and at the dentist office, fluoride builds up in the body and harms internal organs and can also harm fertility and pre-natal development.

Parabeans (a preservative in most lotions and soaps) are bad for you. Parabeans from these products have been found in cancerous tumors in the body.

Dibutyl phthalate (DBP, plasticizers, butyl ester, or fragrance) is bad for you. These are plastic additives to toiletries that can leach through the skin.

Benzophenone-3 (found in sunscreen) is bad for you. Another plastic type chemical that has been shown to be excreted in the urine of the users of those sunscreens even five days after the user has stopped wearing the lotion.

Talcum powder is bad for you. It has substances similar to asbestos in it and has been shown to cause cancer. That's a nice after shower treat!

Flame retardant chemicals (in mattresses, pillows, children's pajamas) are bad for you. These are breathed in by sleeping adults and children and can be absorbed through the skin. They also do not flame up, but they can melt onto the skin.

Many synthetic clothes (made with plastics) are bad for you. Similar to those that are flame retardant, they often contain unhealthy chemicals and will still melt onto you.

Paraffin (in candles and wicks) is bad for you. The fumes from paraffin wax candles is similar to the fumes of burnt diesel fuel.

Many cleaning products are dangerous to handle and breathe. Inadvertently combining them could cause death.

~ ~ ~

Phew, I feel a mixture of catharsis to have written all these things down publicly and panic from the somewhat drastic life changes these dangers could merit. Probably there are items on this list that are dramatically more dangerous than others and I know I probably omitted items that are either unknown by me or the public. As I imagine life without these things, I see a fairly bare existance. Kitchen cupboards would be purged of foods, pans, containers, and utensils. Bathroom cupboards would be emptied. The linen and clothes closets might look a little sparse. But it makes me think of a kitchen and home a hundred or even just sixty years ago before all of our "conviniences" robbed us of our health and well being. How I would love to learn how to feed my family whole foods, make my own bread and yogurt, grow and raise basic staples of our diets in our own back yard. But I'll save all that for a later post.


  1. Welcome to the other side! I must warn you, though, it is a very slippery slope. Soon you will be conscious about these things at others' houses, and when you are on the road and all you have is fast food. These are awful feelings.

    And of course you will be ridiculed by people who think you are overreacting, because for some reason people trust the government on health (though not on anything else really) more than they do independent studies and plain ol' logic.

    And it becomes quite a religious experience too. You begin realizing that your body is a temple, and that yes, you should honor God with your body. People will joke about how they will live longer because they have so many preservatives, and statements like that will make you sad. And you will begin to notice that the ignorant statements of the unhealthy sound a whole lot like the ignorant statements made by non-Christians; except that these words are not coming form non-Christians, but from your brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Welcome to the other side. It's good to have more company over here.

  2. amen to all that! good luck in your purging endeavor:)

  3. It is so hard to discern what to worry about, isn't it? One of the easiest things I've done is use vinegar and water for all of my cleaning (and sometimes baking soda, in the toilet). Its really easy, cheap, and cleans pretty well. There is a smell at first, but when it evaporates, the smell goes away. I would love to exchange other ideas!


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