Something Beautiful or Humorous: Apples that Eli painted

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Endocrine Disorders Series Part 6: Are We All Being Poisoned?

Why are we hearing more and more that people are depressed, hypothyroid, hormonally imbalanced or have adrenal fatigue and other endocrine problems? Part of it is the stress in our lives, but I have started to learn that there are prevalent things in our environment that may be messing with the hormones in our bodies. They are called Endocrine Disruptors, Xenoestrogens and Phytoestrogens. I thought I would bring some of them to your attention because some lifestyle changes are worth it, when you have felt awful & we especially would never want our kids to end up with these problems in their adulthood or even adolescence.

This post is not to mean that I jump on the band wagon with the most panicked environmentalists out there. The things I've listed below are things that I've heard again and again from more than just a few sources. If I hear or read something once, it doesn't scare me. But if I hear it again and again from trusted sources, I start to be a little concerned.

However, I think we all should be able to take a middle of the road approach that acknowledges research out there that certain things are in fact bad for us, but realizing we still have to live in society without being fear-stricken all the time. But if you tend not to agree, before you point a mocking finger at me, read all the articles I have linked to. We can all make our own choices and not judge each other.

Here are the changes our family has made:
  • Throw away any plastic containers once their color or texture has changed
  • Never put plastic containers in the microwave
  • Switch as much as possible to buying food that comes in a glass container instead of plastic
  • Get rid of all our tupperware and switch to these handy glass containers instead

Our family shops at Trader Joe's. I really appreciate how easy it is to find hormone-free meat and milk there. I have noticed Costco also sells hormone-free milk (or is it just antibiotic-free? I can't remember.) On top of that, I choose the organic version. I also try to get cage-free organic eggs.*

Why is the normal milk and meat bad for us? To make more money, large farm owners give cows & chickens growth hormones (more animals or more milk production in less time=profit). They also give the cows & chickens antibiotics, which is beginning to cause antibiotic resistance in both animals & the humans that eat the meat. Growth hormone rBGH is now linked to cancer because it causes humans to produce too much of something called "insulin-like-growth-factor" responsibility for uncontrolled cell division (=cancer). Growth hormones are also linked to infertility, early puberty and the over-production of estrogen which can cause breast cancer.

Another interesting note is that American livestock is banned in many countries. This article scares me, and so does this one.

I have heard that these substances are especially harmful to the thyroid gland. I personally have had a hard time giving up my laundry bleach and my Colgate. But a friend of mine is so sensitive that she felt unwell after showering in chlorinated water and got a filter for the shower. She also switched to un-fluoridated toothpaste. Some people believe that our chlorinated and fluoridated tap water is a big cause of the rise of hypothyroid instances in the US. Here is an article about the water. Here is an article that questions whether fluoride really prevents cavities in the first place. All that said, I still haven't made any changes in our family. Maybe I should? What are your thoughts?

Why are they bad for us? They hurt the earth, they hurt our brains, and they hurt our endocrine systems. The Mood Cure even talks about how they increase depression. Here is a great summary of some scientific studies.

This is another area where I've read about convincing research that these are bad for us, but I just can't bring myself to make the switch. No matter how many testimonials I've heard that baking soda and vinegar are just as good at cleaning bathrooms as Lysol and Comet, I just can't do it. Similarly, thinking about giving up fresh-smelling Tide or my favorite air freshener grips my heart with sadness. I love those things, but I've read that they are dangerous. Again, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

I think I linked to this article before when I was talking about depression. Soy is a Phyto-estrogen, which means it overloads your body with estrogen, causing hormonal havoc. Since Estrogen Dominance is one of my biggest problems, I try really hard not to eat anything with soy, and it's hard, if you also want to increase your protein. For awhile, our house was free of protein bars (because you just can't find any with whey protein. All they use is soy protein isolate, dang it.) But once in a while it creeps back in, because I figure that once in a while a protein bar is better than an actual candy bar. But for the most part, I am definitely on the band wagon against soy!

This is an easy switch. Whenever I eat fish at a restaurant, I ask first if it's wild or farmed. I never eat farmed fish, if I can help it. At the grocery store, fish is clearly labeled, wild or farmed. I'm sure you've probably heard a lot in the news about why farmed fish is bad. If not, just google "dangers of farmed fish" or something. The biggest concern is mercury toxicity, which is a different nightmare than endocrine disruption. But the more I read about farmed fish (franken-fish, genetically modified, etc.), I am sort of saying, "who knows what is in that stuff?" Also, as far as salmon, wild salmon contain more healthy omega 3 acids because it occurs in their bodies naturally as they swim against the currents. In a farmed environment, the salmon don't have as much omega 3. They aren't even pink! They are DYED pink. Farmed fish also can contain PCBs, which are endocrine disruptors.

Have I left out anything?

*I have not seen the movie Food Inc. yet. It is on my Netflix Queue. I have a feeling once I do see it, I will probably post again, having been thoroughly freaked out. I have heard just a preview of what a nightmare it is especially when they talk about how meat and poultry are produced in this country. Yikes!

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Natalie, I really like your post. Thanks for all the great information. I think that if we all made small changes like this it would be healthier for us and I think the food industry is getting the message that we want changes. A great cleaning solution is vinegar plus dish soap with water. I use it a lot, it makes my wood floors sprinkle. Also a natural cleaner that is really good for laundry as well as scrubbing and toilets is borax. It's a natural cleaner but has that nice grit like comet. I also use Clorox Green works which is more natural when I want that nice clean house smell. I actually have a lot of recipes for natural cleaning supplies if you'd like it. email me I think part of the reason we are supposed to know how to garden and make our own food etc. may not be for a apocolyptic event but perhaps so we can stay healthier as our food supply gets worse! Do you know the average child eats 5 pounds of pesticide a year on fruits. We have our own chickens for eggs and I try and garden as much as possible for our veggies and fruits. I buy organic fruits which if you watch for them to go on sale at health food stores you can get for same price as regular fruit. I just rotate what we eat on the sale schedule. I buy everything hormone free which is easier these days - like you said costco has hormone free milk and meat. Although the organic meat I bought there last month got recalled for ecoli so sometimes you just can't win! LOL
As far as fluoride I know my brother and I are the oldest of 7 and they did not add fluoride to the water when we were young. By the time my siblings came around they started adding it and the last 5 of my siblings have great teeth while my brother and I always had dental problems growing up. My mom swears it was the fluoride in the water...who knows?
I wish I could get away from plastics, this seems to be the hardest for me...I love my tupperware. I guess its all about baby steps.