Intermediate Plan: Lifestyle Changes
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Dr. Mercola's Nutrition Plan
Lesson 1: Practice techniques, such as prayer, meditation or EFT, to control anxiety and stress, eliminate self-doubt and negativity, and instill self-control and peace of mind.
To truly succeed at this nutrition plan, I highly recommend you work on overcoming your emotional barriers, whether they're based on life's anxiety-factors or emotional traumas.
The use of the "Emotional Freedom Technique," (EFT) was covered in the beginner’s section. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend incorporating it now. You can learn how to start using EFT on yourself and those close to you right now with my free online EFT Manual.
Lesson 2: Take your time, and chew your food.
It's very important to carve out time to eat at a leisurely pace, and to chew your food properly. Americans, in general, tend to eat under a state of stress and anxiety. While under stress, your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure rises, and blood is shunted away from your midsection, going to your arms, legs, and head for quick thinking, fighting, or fleeing.
All of these changes are referred to as the physiological stress response. Under those circumstances, your digestion completely shuts down. So a major problem with eating while your body is under the stress response is that you could be eating the healthiest food in the world, yet you won’t be able to fully digest and assimilate that food, and your body will not be able to burn calories effectively. The stress response causes a number of detrimental events in your body, including:
- Decreased nutrient absorption
- Decreased oxygenation to your gut
- As much as four times less blood flow to your digestive system, which leads to decreased metabolism
- Decreased enzymatic output in your gut – as much as 20,000-fold!
Many nutrients are also excreted during stress, particularly:
- Water-soluble vitamins
- Macrominerals like calcium (calcium excretion can increase as much as 60 to 75 mg within an hour of a stressful event)
As if that’s not enough, your cholesterol and triglycerides also go up, while gut flora populations decrease. You’re also more likely to experience increased sensitivity to food and gastroesophageal reflux, or heartburn. But perhaps most importantly, when your body is under the stress response, your cortisol and insulin levels rise. These two hormones tend to track each other, and when your cortisol is consistently elevated under a chronic low-level stress response, you’ll likely notice that you have difficulty losing weight or building muscle.
Additionally, if your cortisol is chronically elevated, you’ll tend to gain weight around your midsection. We’ve known for some time that body fat, and especially visceral fat (the fat that gathers around your internal organs, around your midsection) is a major contributing factor to developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Try to chew your food to a liquid form and then swallow it. This will predigest your food with the enzymes in your saliva. It will also provide neurological stimulation of your stomach and pancreas to increase their acid and digestive enzyme production.
Avoid chewing gum for this same reason. Chewing gum will fool your body to secrete valuable digestive juices unnecessarily. This will worsen your digestion and your health. It's also helpful not to talk while you are chewing your food as this interferes with optimal digestion.
Lesson 3: Avoid drinking too much water during your meals.
Avoid drinking fluids with your meals if possible, as this will dilute the gastric digestive contents and make the food more difficult to digest. A few sips of water during the meal is fine.
Lesson 4: Keep your kitchen clean -- the non-toxic way.
A food scientist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University has worked out the recipe for a healthy sanitizing solution. All you need is three percent hydrogen peroxide, the same strength available at the drug store for gargling or disinfecting wounds, plain white or apple cider vinegar, and a pair of brand new spray bottles like the kind you use to dampen laundry before ironing.
You will want to review my article on the six most contaminated surfaces in your home and consider using these solutions:
- Clean your veggies: If you're cleaning vegetables or fruit, spritz them well with both the vinegar and the hydrogen peroxide, then rinse them off under running water. It doesn't matter which you use first -- you can spray with the vinegar then the hydrogen peroxide, or with the hydrogen peroxide followed by the vinegar. You won't get any lingering taste of vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, and neither is toxic to you if a small amount remains on the produce. Rinsing with HOT water has been shown to be far more effective at removing pesticides compared to cold water.
- Get rid of e.coli bacteria: The paired sprays work exceptionally well for sanitizing counters and other food preparation surfaces including wood cutting boards. In tests run at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, pairing the two mists killed virtually all salmonella, shigella, and E. coli bacteria on heavily-contaminated food and surfaces when used in this fashion. This spray combination is more effective at killing these potentially lethal bacteria than chlorine bleach or any commercially available kitchen cleaner.
- Clean your kitchen on a regular basis: Be sure to regularly clean your kitchen countertops, sink drains, refrigerator handles and faucet handles. This should also be done immediately after you handle any raw meat.
- Clean your sponges and dishcloths: Your kitchen sponge is likely one of the most contaminated objects in your kitchen. Fortunately it turns out that placing that sponge in the microwave for two minutes is likely enough to kill 99 percent of the bacteria hidden in the sponge.
Zapping sponges in the microwave every other day will decontaminate them better than putting them in the dishwasher, which is the strategy I had been previously using. I've moved into a new home where the previous owners had installed a built in microwave. I had planned on removing it but have kept it now that I found a suitable use for it.
If you do use your microwave for this purpose PLEASE be careful to make sure the sponge is wet. If you put it dry into the microwave you might cause a fire and smoke up your house. Additionally the oven works by causing the water in the sponge to turn to hot steam which is what kills the bacteria.
Lesson 5: Learn about the health dangers of cell phones, wireless internet and other forms of electromagnetic radiation.
As cell phone use continues to grow unabated, a growing body of researchers is speaking out against the technology, warning that it may have serious biological side effects that must be acknowledged and remedied. Fortunately, their warnings are slowly but surely beginning to be heard.
Experts in the area of the biological effects of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) and wireless technologies believe there's virtually no doubt that cell phones and related gadgets are capable of causing not only cancer but contributing to a wide variety of other conditions, from depression and diabetes to heart irregularities and impaired fertility. Researchers have now identified numerous mechanisms of harm, which explain how electromagnetic fields impact your cells and damages your DNA.
On May 31, 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO)/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report admitting cell phones might indeed cause cancer, classifying radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" (Class 2B). The classification came in part in response to research showing wireless telephones increase the risk for brain cancer.
An analysis of the range of known mechanisms of action, including DNA effects, was published in November 2010 in "Non-Thermal Effects and Mechanisms of Interaction Between Electromagnetic Fields and Living Matter." Furthermore, the mobile industry's own research in the 13-country Interphone study showed a 40 percent increased risk of brain cancer from 1,640 or more hours of cell phone use, and independent Swedish research published in 2007 showed a 540 percent increased risk of brain cancer from greater than 2,000 hours of cell phone use.
So please, be aware that there is already robust scientific evidence that cell phones and other wireless devices pose significant health risks to all of us—especially to children and pregnant women. You can minimize your exposure to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones and other wireless devices by heeding the following advice:
- Children Should Always Avoid Using Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type.
- Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call. If you're pregnant, avoiding or reducing your cell phone use may be especially important.
- Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness. SKYPE offers a portable number via your computer that can plug into any Ethernet port while traveling.
- Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them as often as you do. And most importantly, do not even consider having any electronic or wireless devices in the bedroom that will interfere with the quality of your sleep.
If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are not safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made. Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters won't help much). As many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz, the highest range now available in a meter suitable for consumers.
Alternatively you can be very careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren't talking. So if you can keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom, they may not be as damaging to your health. Another option is to just simply turn the portable phone off, only using it when you specifically need the convenience of moving about while on a call.
Ideally it would be helpful to turn off your base station every night before you go to bed.
You can find RF meters as well as remediation supplies at www.emfsafetystore.com. But you can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if the technology is DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology.
- Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.
- Avoid Carrying Your Phone on Your Body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in a shirt pocket over the heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man's pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility.
- Don't Assume One Cell Phone is Safer than Another: There's no such thing as a "safe" cell phone. This is particularly true for industry promoted SAR ratings, which are virtually useless in measuring the true potential biological danger as most all of the damage is not done by heat transfer, which SAR measures.
- Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.
- Respect Others Who are More Sensitive: Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others' cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used. If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor's office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the 'second hand radiation' effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.
If you are using the Pong case, which redirects the cell phone radiation away from the head and successfully lowers the SAR effect, realize that in redirecting the radiation away from your head this may be intensifying the radiation in another direction, perhaps toward the person next to you, or, if in your pocket, increasing radiation intensity toward your body. Caution is always advised in dealing with any radiation-emitting device. We recommend cell phones be kept 'Off' except for emergencies.
- Use Safer Headset Technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded -- and most of them are not -- the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.
Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded.
The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.