What's in the Water?

What's in the Water?

Water... Life's Most Valuable Componet (next to the Air we breathe) Photo by Joslyn Taylor     I wrote this article on water a while back, but water will always be...

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Take a deep breath through your nose, slowly filling up your lungs. Then slowly push the air out through your mouth. Think about your nose, which acts as a filter and humidifier of the air you breathe into the lungs, processing that healing, life-giving oxygen. Then focus on expelling the by-product, carbon dioxide, out of your mouth, into the air around you.

 

Besides water, air is the only way to feed the human body oxygen. That makes it absolutely essential, fundamental, and critical for good health. Major air pollutants: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and particle pollution are proven to increase the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) , even after short-term exposures. Other health risks linked to air pollution include: asthma, stroke, decline in cognitive function, dementia, autism, inflammation, high blood pressure, acceleration of atherosclerosis, and overall cardiovascular health and brain health. Researchers estimate about an 18% increase in the life span for people living in rural or metropolitan counties and attributed it to lower air pollution. Kind of makes you want to stay indoors, right? Sadly, the air inside your home, office, school (even our car!) is about seven times more polluted than the outdoor air.

 

Major contributors are the things you can’t see, including:

 

Air fragrances: Candles (heavily fragranced, petroleum-based are the worst culprits), incense, “air re-fresheners” (huge oxymoron), and air deodorizers and disinfectants (i.e. Lysol and Fabreeze). The air in your lungs does not need to smell good. It needs to be clear of chemicals, phthalates, and harmful additives.

 

Volatile Organic Compound’s (VOC’s): Gas-off from dry cleaning, paint, carpet, deadly formaldehyde, particle and pressed boards, furniture, PVC Shower Curtains, household mattresses and other furniture containing flame resistant chemicals PBDEs & PBBs

 

Pesticides, tobacco smoke, gas and other fuels, paint strippers, cosmetics (hairsprays and perfume), cleaning products containing ammonia, chlorine, benzene, floor wax, wood or other cleaners with petroleum (mineral) ingredients, wood burning stoves or fireplaces, and gas appliances.

 

So how do we “clear” the air?

 

1. Increase Flow. The most important thing is to increase the air flow in the building. That means, open the windows and doors and get good air movement going. This step is absolutely essential. You must move the air to clean it. Install small fans in hard to ventilate places such as the laundry room and bathroom. Air flow also decreases mold as it reduces moisture, which is important as mold can have a profound effect on health.

2. Implement A No Idle Policy. Never “idle” your car inside the garage. Do not even start the engine without making sure you can pull out quickly and safely. A swift exit is key. In carpool, turn off the engine. This policy should be in force at every school across the country. Not only does this deadly pollution make its way into the buildings, but into the lungs of our precious children. Same with buses- make sure the school has a no idle policy in place. If your child takes the bus, educate them on the dangers of vehicle emissions. Vehicle exhaust is deadly.

3. Identify And Eliminate Air Violators. Use the above list as a guide to “air violators” and discontinue their use immediately. Clean air violators out of your home and office. Be sure and properly dispose of all chemicals, cleaners, fuels, etc or the problem will only mutate to the local water source.

4. Test Your Air. Have your air tested if high allergies, migraines, or unexplained health problems plague anyone in your family. Make sure your house meets airPlus standards.

5. Filter, Filter, Filter. Use a HEPA filter on vacuum cleaners and HVAC air filters. Research the EPA’s Guide for Residential Air Filters and make sure you are taking necessary steps to ensure air health in your home.

6. Let In The Light. Get as much natural sunlight into your home as possible. The sun is a natural disinfectant and also kills most mold spores.

7. Dust. Use Microfiber cleaning towels to frequently remove dust, allergens and pet dander from furniture, floors, counter tops, and blinds.

8. Go Green. Channel your green thumb and grow lots of indoor plants to naturally filter the air. NASA research confirms the use of household plants improves air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and eliminating benzene and formaldehyde. Here is a full list of air-purifying plants.

 

Taking these small steps will ensure you and your family can breathe deeply and be closer to complete health. Wherever you can, through daily choices, writing elected officials, contacting school officials to initiate a no-idle policy, be an advocate for clean air, as it will give us a healthier earth for generations to come. Then enjoy a nice, long, deep breath of clean fresh… air!

 

My best,

Holly

 

More information on the air we breathe can be found from these helpful sites:

The American Lung association

Health House.Org

Air Now

 

 


Water... Life's Most Valuable Componet (next to the Air we breathe) Photo by Joslyn Taylor

 

 

I wrote this article on water a while back, but water will always be in the forefront of any conversation about healthy living.  As I have said many times, our health directly depends on the purity of our water, air and food.  Today, while water coming out of any and every faucet across America may be deemed "permitable" to drink, it is still contaiminated with heavy metals, industrial chemicals, disinfectant by products, hormones such as estrogen and pharmaceuticul drugs. 

 

EWG just released another look at bottled water. While the point maybe that most bottled water is commonly municiple, faucet water in a toxic plastic bottle with a nice price tag for convenience, I find the true point, to be how poor our water quality is and the causes. 

 

By: Holly Pellham Davis

 

When my kids tell me they are tired, don’t feel well, or basically grumble for any reason at all, I tell them to drink water. It’s pretty much my answer to everything… But, they know it comes with lots of stipulations, and it’s really not all that simple. Here’s why.

 

All water is not created equal. The formula for which about 70% of the earth is made of, 1 oxygen to 2 hydrogen atoms, is merely the tip of the iceberg. There are pollutants, minerals, additives, chemicals, and treatments to consider.

 

Let’s talk water types:

 

Tap or Municipal Water – The water flowing form our faucets typically contains additives like fluoride, which was introduced in the 1940s by a town in Michigan after studies that showed fluoride strengthened teeth. Many people believe the push for fluoride was a double mistake along with the use of mercury in fillings, both highly toxic and poisonous. Fluoride is a neuro-toxin which has been shown in studies to cause decreased and impaired cognitive development and lower IQs. After studying the effects on developing brains, we now know it is especially critical that fluorinated water never be mixed with infant formula. (By the way, the same dangers lurk in your average toothpaste. Opt for fluoride-free). In January 2011, the CDC reduced the levels of fluoride added to municipal water supplies after a report indicating that 2 in 5 children in America showed signs of fluoride poisoning. I believe that number to be higher. In cities all over America we are mass medicating the public with uncontrolled doses of toxic, poisonous Fluoride.    

 

Tap water is also contaminated with pharmaceuticals such as Prozac, Viagra, blood thinners, cancer drugs, and statins. (Even found in waters in the Arctic.) The threat is alarming, and its effects are inconceivable when you ponder what the combination of these drugs could possibly do to a developing brain or any living thing for that matter.

 

Treatments, such as the water disinfectant Chlorine, have become a necessary evil. While its a good thing that the chlorine kills the bacteria in the water, it’s usually our bodies that are left to filter the chlorine, and its highly toxic. Chlorine, when combined with organic compounds, result in disinfection by-poducts* or DBPs, which, according to the CDC, have been linked to liver, kidney, and nervous system problems, and are carcinogenic.

 

Bottled Water – Unbeknownst to most consumers, about 40% of all bottled water is tap water. (Nestle has recently been sued with claims of misleading consumers.) So not only do you need to worry about all of the above factors from the tap, but you also need to consider the toxic plastic bottle the water has been stored in. Ugh. We have to read the fine print and look for sources. Best bets are “Spring” or “Spring Mountain Water” with the source labeled clearly on the container. If it states, “municipal source,” forget about it. You are better off getting a glass form the tap and allowing it to sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. It will naturally evaporate off many of the toxic DBPs, making it safer to drink. (You still get the pharmaceuticals, fluoride, etc though.)

 

Next, look for how its been treated. You want reverse osmosis at a minimum. Reverse osmosis systems remove most chlorine, inorganic, and organic contaminants as well as about 80% of fluoride and DBPs. Carbon filtration is another good layer of protection. Only use plastic bottled water in extenuating circumstances or if you have a brand in particular you use for health reasons. I have one I consume daily with my workout, guaranteed to be free of arsenic, DBP, chlorine, fluoride, MTBE, chromium 6, and the most difficult, trace pharmaceuticals. Note that with most RO water, unless minerals are added back, the filtering process also removes vital minerals. Make sure you add some back into your diet for proper balance. Take a good manesium supplement and liquid minerals to your RO water.  

 

Also, when you do need a bottled water, its comes from a friendly source and does not cause the surrounding people hardship and ALWAYS RECYCLE.  

Beautiful places do not always beget beautiful water.

 

Distilled Water – Another item to avoid is distilled water, as it has been boiled, which takes out the beneficial minerals and can be harmful to your health if consumed repeatedly. It is also very acidic. Save it for your iron.

 

Vitamin Water — So called “Vitamin” Waters are usually accompanied by high fructose corn syrup, dyes, and synthetic vitamins. It is nothing but a deceivingly healthy sounding, high-priced chemical cocktail.

 

Coconut Water – An excellent source of potassium and excellent in treating dehydration (especially associated with a holiday party hangover), coconut water can be a healthy choice. But remember that large soda companies are behind some brands. For example, a container of Zico typically contains 22 grams of sugar (almost the same amount that’s in soda), and that’s the plain version. Added-fruit varieties only increase the calorie count. If you are a coconut water fan, reach for the raw, naturally processed brands. (There are very few.)  Know the difference between Coconut water: the water the comes from the inside of the coconut. It is clear and thin and Coconut Milk which is actually from the flesh of the coconut and high in saturated fat and calories.  If you have had a hard workout and need electrolytes, add a dash of Himalayan salt to purified water, stir and drink. 

 

Be sure and support clean water by refusing to use chemical yard services, fertilizer. Purchase or grow organic food, know what's in your water in your area and hold industrial businesses accountable (meat processing, Chemical companies, Industrial farms, mining, etc) 

 

Here's to your health,

Holly

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Joslyn Taylor

  

By Holly Pellham Davis

 

As a little girl, much of my summer was spent at my grandparent’s house in Louisiana where I learned to pick and shell peas, shuck corn, share crops, and bait a hook with my big daddy. (I shot squirrels, tried snuff, and was almost bitten by two poisonous snakes too, but we’ll save that for another day.) The lessons I learned there about food and farming are part of the foundation for which my “food beliefs” are built. Those tenets include:

  • “You are what your food eats.”
  • Respect the land, Earth and water sources.
  • Rotate your crops and do not “till” the soil.
  • Use nature’s pest control.  Keep all synthetic fertilizers and pesticides out of your garden, home and body.
  • Take care of the livestock, chickens that you have by treating them with respect and allowing them to breathe, roam and live freely. Feed them what nature intended them to eat like grass, bugs, non-GMO's, no pesticide hays and grain etc…  (not corn, poop, antibiotics, and hormones.)
  • Store food for the winter.

 

 

While I know that most of us do not have an acre garden in our backyard (much less cows and chickens roaming around), we can still strive to feed our families with foods that meet these standards. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Purchase local, but most importantly, ORGANIC produce.  This is much easier for vegetables, eggs, chicken, and beef than for fruit (at least here in Texas). Choose organic first, then the closest source possible. Over 80% of our domestic fruits and veggies are from California.
  2. Check out your local co-op sources. If you can find one that is organic and consistently meets expectations with variety and quality, consider it a gold mine! You can often source raw goats milk, raw honey, eggs, and grains through the same farmers for a one-stop shop. If you’re a meat eater and live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, try Eat Wild to locate nearby grass fed beef.
  3. Join a community garden. Not enough room for a garden, but your inner green thumb is calling? Locate a community garden in your neighborhood and lease a plot. It’s a fun way to grow your own when you’re lacking space.
  4. Proceed with caution at farmers markets.  Many vendors are simply conventional produce re-sellers at local farmers market stands. Investigate their boxes in the back of the stand or look for stickers on their produce. (Dead give away.) Also keep in mind that local farmers in Texas are usually conventional farmers. (Common crops include, peas, tomatoes, okra, onions, peppers, melons, and potatoes.) Ask the vendor specifically if they use insecticides, herbicides, or pesticides on any crops on their farm. Only select and purchase foods you are certain have been grown organically. For example, some peaches in East Texas are heavily sprayed with pesticides. While I love local farming and grew up picking peaches in orchards, these pesticides are unacceptable. Opting for a store bought, USDA organic peach is a better choice. Again, support organic farmers.
  5. Purchase organic, pasture raised eggs.  You can get these at your local organic market (my favorite are from Vital Farms) or locate a local farmer that sells them. In addition, only consume organic chicken and grass fed organic beef (skip pork altogether) in order to protect yourself and family from vaccinations, antibiotics, and hormones.   The story of the modern day chicken and egg is one that plays more like a science fiction movie.
  6. Eat in season. By choosing local, organic foods, you are following the natural, seasonal cycle. (Mother nature plans her crops in sync with our needs.) For example, heavy vitamin C cold fighting oranges and grapefruits are in season January to early spring, just when we need them most. Likewise, heavily satisfying and comforting potatoes, squash, and  pumpkin are welcome fall arrivals. Beautiful red strawberries make their early debut in time for Valentine’s Day, and nothing refreshes more than a plate of garden fresh tomatoes or juicy watermelon in the hot days of summer. Remember to stock up, put up, and freeze foods when they at their peak for later use.  I keep my freezer stocked with organic berries, okra, corn, peas, and green beans. I love to use them in smoothies and soups during the winter months.

 

Hmmm… a big pot of soup is sounding really yummy right now. Here’s my go-to soup recipe for your eating pleasure. Let me know how you like it!

 

Clean Fresh Living’s Veggie Tex Soup

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 29oz can of black beans (Eden Organics), rinsed and drained
  • 1 32 oz box low sodium, organic free range chicken broth (Imagine)
  • 1 26 oz box or glass jar of chopped or diced organic tomatoes (Eden Organics)
  • 1 16 oz jar of medium salsa (Whole Foods 365)
  • 1 large organic yellow onion, diced
  • 6 cloves organic garlic, minced
  • Handful of organic cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 c of reverse osmosis water

 

Choose two or three:

  • 8 to 10 oz frozen organic corn (In-season or put up)
  • 8 to 10 oz frozen organic okra (In-season or put up)
  • 1 fresh organic zucchini quartered & 1 fresh yellow squash quartered
  • 8 to 10 oz frozen green peas and carrots (In-season or put up. I also love Columbia River Brand.)

 

Choose one:

  • 1 organic rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods. (Pull meat off bone and shred.)
  • 3 organic chicken breasts boiled in water, then shredded
  • 1 lb ground meat such as buffalo or organic grass fed beef (*If using Ground Beef or Buffalo you will need 4 Tbsp Taco Seasoning (no MSG)

 

Directions: 

Set stove top to Med-High Heat. Using a large enameled cast iron pot, brown your grass fed ground beef or (always grass fed) ground buffalo. After the meat is browned, drain off the fat, set meat aside, and lightly wipe the inside of the pot. Add diced onion to the pot and sauté. After onions are soft and translucent, add the minced garlic, careful not to burn- should only take a minute. Add meat back to the pot.  Sprinkle the meat with 4 tbs Taco seasoning, coating evenly, then adding 3/4 c of water.  Stir to blend, reduce heat to Medium about 3-5 minutes. (*If notusing beef or buffalo, add 1-2 tbs of Olive Oil and sauté the diced onions then the garlic. After the garlic is cooked, add the shredded chicken to the pot.)

Add rinsed & drained black beans, (you can cook dried beans also) salsa, chicken broth, and tomatoes. Stir. Add a bit of freshly cracked pepper. Let cook on medium for about 15-20 minutes to blend flavors, then add your veggie choices to the pot. Stir, place lid on pot and let cook over low-medium heat (so that nutritional value in veggies are not lost) for about 15-20 minutes, add cilantro and your done!

Great compliments to this meal include:

  • Fresh chopped avocado
  • Fresh squeezed lime
  • Additional fresh cilantro (great immune system booster)
  • Fresh grated (rBgh free) or Almond cheese, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Pepper Jack cheese
  • Sprouted grain tortillas
  • Organic blue corn chips

 

Enjoy!

Be well, Live well.

-Holly

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