Take a moment and think about how you spend your day. More specifically, think about how you move throughout that day.
You wake up in the morning and get ready for work, just to sit in the car and make your way through traffic – if you live in an area like me, this might take you an hour or more. Once you get to the office, you might spend hours at your desk reviewing emails and completing assignments. After you get home, you probably make dinner, tidy up a bit, and then relax on the couch to watch some Netflix or browse the web on your phone – you could even be hunched over your phone right now, reading this article!
How much time do you spend sitting, between your car and your desk and the couch in the evenings? How much time do you spend lying down, either napping or watching TV or sleeping at night? Now, how much time do you spend really moving? If I had to guess – and if you’re anything like the typical American – the balance is seriously off.
We aren’t moving anything like our ancestors once did, which creates more evolutionary mismatch problems than you would imagine. In fact, it might even be just as detrimental to our health as our modern, non-ancestral diets.
How Our Ancestors Moved
As you can probably imagine, our ancestors moved a lot. Think about it: if they didn’t get out there and hunt or gather food, they would starve. Thirsty? They usually had a good hike just to collect water from a fresh stream or spring, plus carrying some back for others. Nomad tribes were on the move all the time, following both food sources and migrating for specific seasons, carrying everything they owned (including their small children) in the process.
In order to survive, shelter was necessary. For some, this meant climbing and sleeping in trees at night to avoid predators – young and old alike. For others, this meant building structures with their own hands, searching and gathering the supplies necessary. Then, of course, there was the cooking, clothing- and tool-making, and the fighting off of wild animals looking for their next meal.
Life was rough... life was very physical... life was in harmony with nature. While children still played games and explored, they also worked; they were gathering with their mothers, learning to hunt with their fathers, and helping to protect the family from a very young age. They were walking for miles along with the rest of their tribe, and they were even climbing trees for protection at night.
There wasn’t much time for sitting and relaxing, and you better believe that no one’s job involved hunching over a rock, or even a stone tablet, for eight hours a day.
Comment: I believe that comfort is not good for any organism. I also believe that rest and relaxation, storytelling, drums beating and dance were integral to forming tribal bonds, teaching and creating connecting purpose. My point is that our early ancestors earned their rest and relaxation and then they "moved" in rthym and in harmony with one another, and with nature.
How We Move
It goes without saying that today, we move nothing like our ancestors. And the health effects of this sedentary lifestyle are significant.
I personally put a huge emphasis on moving throughout the day, and I know that it’s still not enough – after all, I’m sitting at my desk right now as I write this article. And those who simply don’t have the time or ability (or don’t really think it’s that important) to do the same as me? Well, they are decreasing their life expectancy and destroying their health, just by not moving enough.
Between the average commute (which adds up to over 229 hours a year), sitting at a desk at work, gaming/reading/watching television at night, and spending time on a home computer, the average American is spending a horrifying 13 hours a day on their butt! Add in 8 hours of sleep a night (though few of us get that – a topic for another day), and you have an average of 21 hours a day that we spend totally inactive.
Honestly, it’s shocking to think about.
Sure, some of us try to make this up by walking around occasionally at work or hitting the treadmill each evening, but our health is still suffering. Many studies have even found that we can’t really “make up” for hours and hours of sedentariness just by hitting the gym after work – that much of the damage is already done, and an hour on the elliptical simply can’t undo 10+ hours of inactivity.
The fact is, modern humans just don’t move the way our bodies were intended to move… and we are getting sicker and sicker as a result.
Why It Matters
There are so many reasons why it’s important to move like our ancestors did. They range from the superficial (we burn more calories, have better posture, do better thinking) to the life-altering (we can help avoid cancer, diabetes, and metabolic disorders). It’s quite literally a matter of life and death.
When you’re sedentary for hours at a time, your metabolism slows down. You’re not burning as many calories, increasing your heart rate through exertion, or working your muscles, so your body doesn’t need to work quite as hard. Your metabolism slows and you can even begin to see the effects in your endocrine system, which is most often in the form of diabetes.
In fact, the combination of all of these effects – and their direct correlation to a sedentary lifestyle – have led researchers to coin it “sitting disease.”
Movement also releases antioxidants that fight free radicals, helping you avoid cancer. Bones require constant movement in order to maintain their strength, and sitting for too long impacts that. Alternating between sitting and standing helps your body release the enzymes needed to properly digest your food. Subtle movements promote higher HDL and lower LDL, helping you avoid heart disease. Not to mention, increasing your circulation with physical activity releases endorphins (improving your mood), increases circulation (boosting energy levels and mental acuity), and flat-out reduces the back/joint/nerve pain that can come from sitting – a position our bodies weren’t meant to hold all day.
A shocking fact? The 4th leading risk factor for global mortality is physical inactivity, and more than 3 million deaths a year are related to sedentariness. Sitting at your desk all day can quite literally kill you.
Comment: Our physiology adapts to the environments that we create. With that said, we literally create new vascular physiology that's aligned with a sedentary life when we don't move enough. Inactivity (probably avoiding the sun too) is indeed the new smoking.
As to why it matters, I'd like to add this... What you do with your body is just as important as what you put into it... in maintaining a "healthy level of movement," one develops a healthy approach to consumption, where instincts become far more identifiable and beneficial. The well-being that builds from balanced movement trumps the need for consumption based satisfaction, such as food, pain killers, alcohol, drugs etc.
How to Fix the Imbalance
No matter your lifestyle or how much movement your job allows for, chances are that you can still do more. With the exception of very few careers, you probably aren’t getting in the amount of movement that your body was designed to have in a given day.
Even if you exercise regularly, you unfortunately can’t truly undo the hours you spend sitting on your butt, either. The sudden shift from 8+ hours of sitting to an hour of physical activity at the gym or at home is stark, too. Even though exercise is still recommended and will improve your heart/lung health, circulation, and blood sugar, it’s just not enough if you’re spending the rest of the entire day, sedentary.
Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can not only increase your movement each day but also improve your health, all without having to quit your job.
Move All Day Long
From the moment you open your eyes to the moment you close them, you should make a conscious effort to move. Whether you are running or doing resistance training, or simply engaging in small movements while you work, just make sure to get your blood pumping.
Before you get ready for the day, try to take a short walk. It will wake you up physically and mentally, and ramp up your metabolism from the offset. Maybe you find that the morning is the best time for you to work out, which can help jump start your physical activity for the day.
There’s no avoiding work for most of us. For some that also means a commute, and added hours in the car each week. Once you actually get to work, though, do your best to keep active. If you have the option of a walking or standing desk, take it! By simply changing your posture, opening up your blood circulation, and moving in a way that your body can while sitting, you’ll do your health a favor.
Take breaks to hit the water fountain or climb a few flights of stairs. If you can, eat lunch outside (bonus vitamin D!) and walk a few laps afterward. When you get home, play outside with the kids, take the dogs for a walk, or do some lawn work – whatever it takes to keep you moving and getting fresh air. After dinner, don’t just grab the remote or your iPad and plop down on the couch; practice some yoga or even engage in some, ahem, extracurricular activities with your spouse.
If you need to track your movement, you can opt for a pedometer or wearable like a FitBit. I personally don’t like the EMFs involved with such devices. However, it can be a great way to make sure you hit 10,000+ steps each day, at least until you learn how to gauge your activity on your own.
Moving constantly throughout the day is more important to your health than working out the recommended 150 minutes a week, though you should actually aim for both.
Comment: I tend to agree with Stephanie about wearable technology... don't do it, unless you absolutely need it to establish the habit (then, get it off your body). Perhaps of more importance is keeping track of the amount of time that you're moving and builing the cornerstone habits (e.g. walking first thing in the morning, after lunch, after dinner and plenty of movement snacks throughout the day).
Whether at home or at work, you should aim to change your position every 30 minutes or so. If you’re working at a desk, alternate between sitting and standing once every half-hour. Take breaks to walk around at least this often, and try to avoid holding the same body position for more than this amount of time.
This switch allows you to use different sets of joints and muscles. It gets your blood circulating and increases the subtle movements needed to balance HDL/LDL and also release your body’s digestive enzymes. Plus, you’ll improve your mood and brain function in the process!
Comment: This is way better than any cup of coffee... plus, it'll save you a ton of money if you source your coffee like most people do in the modern world. Don't believe me... try it! Try moving more... I'm not asking you to put forth much effort here. I'm just asking you to put one foot in front of the other. Get those 10,000 steps a day (or) walk for 60 to 90 minutes. This is how I do it...
First thing in the morning I walk for twenty to thirty minutes... this is that cup of coffee I was talking about
Early afternoon I walk for twenty to thirty minutes... this is my afternoon nap
After dinner our tribe walks in rain, snow or shine for thirty minutes
I also lift heavy things but this is supplementalto moving around at a slow pace. Get moving and take notice how other things fall into place.
Make Workouts Rough
Increasing your constant motion throughout the day is imperative; your life depends on it. However, it’s still important to implement true, strenuous physical exertion for at least 75 minutes a week.
In order to really boost your health, this work needs to be rough. If you’re just walking on the treadmill, you’re not getting the cardiovascular benefits that your heart and lungs need, even if you’re getting your steps in.
Our ancestors worked hard. Whether hauling everything they owned on their backs, chasing prey, or running from predators, their physical activity was hard. Make yours hard, too.
Rather than running at a steady state for an hour, utilize sprints instead. These quick-fire sessions will not only burn more calories in the end (let’s be honest, this is why most of us workout), but will improve our health in the process.
Sprints should be tough and high-intensity; if they’re not, you’re not working hard enough. Run for 20-30 seconds, follow this with 90 seconds of rest, and repeat 8 times. Do this 2-3 times a week, with ample rest in between – this is the type of exercise that most closely imitates the activity bursts that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have had.
In addition to that, get your hands dirty whenever you can. Enjoy some manual labor, whether it’s helping a neighbor build a fence or digging a new garden for your parents. Get out in the fresh air, work with your bare hands, and sweat. There’s nothing better than the full-body ache that comes from something like that.
Comment: Like I previously mentioned, I believe that moving around at a slow pace is more important than strenuous physical exertion but I also lift heavy things and I do sprints every 7 to 10 days. I do this to honor my barbaric forefathers, to stay strong and robust... plus, the research shows that muscle mass is a key predictor of longevity.
Get the Family Involved
Our ancestors didn’t put in headphones and run alone on the treadmill for an hour. Their physical exertion was also a social affair, and had just as much to do for their mental and behavioral health as their physical. You can do the same.
This could be as simple as finding a workout partner, or you could get the entire family involved in your efforts to “just move.” Go outside and play in the yard with the kids… and do it barefoot! You’ll build strong bonds, socialize with loved ones, enjoy fresh air, soak up some vitamin D, and improve everyone’s health in the process. Doing so barefoot will allow your feet to strike naturally without constriction, the way they were built to move across the uneven earth, and you’ll also be grounding yourself in the process.
Our modern world doesn’t promote constant movement. Sure, we have Fitbits and Apple watches tracking our steps and we try to use our gym memberships a couple times a week, but that’s not enough. We simply can’t combat hours upon hours of a sedentary lifestyle, spent hunched over a desk, Netflixing on the couch, or scrolling through our smartphones in bed.
If you want to quite literally save your life, you need to MOVE like our ancestors. Find ways to incorporate movement into every single aspect of your day and eliminate sedentary activities like video games. You’ll improve both your social bonds and your physical health in the process, and live a healthier (longer) life as you do.
Comment: If you're a man, go to our "About Us" page for more ideas... scroll down to # FOR MEN ONLY. Here's a preview...
Men evolved fighting, hunting, protecting... struggling... persevering... winning. And when we win, we get rewarded with a boost of dopamine, androgens and more things that cultivate such behavior. Androgens also help us to win! In modernity, there are not a lot of natural opportunities for boys and men to put themselves in harms way... to overcome real struggle... to really fight for something of value... to win. I believe in contact sports but what happens when that's over and done. I believe for us men to really thrive, we have to possess a type of high courage to continue to fight for something meaningful... to foster an inner fire... to take real risks... and to continue to create opportunities to win.
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AVOID DANGERS LIKE OUR ANCESTORS, PART 3
Written by Stephanie Colestock, Part 3 — Detoxing Your Mercury Mouth & More...
Comments by Brian Johnson (Liver King)
Today’s post is part three in our series about avoiding danger like our ancestors. In the previous two posts, I’ve covered important changes that you can make in your daily life to eliminate toxins, such as improving the air quality in your home, getting rid of hormone-altering plastics, and countering the effects of our modern world’s near-constant EMF radiation. Today, I want to talk about a few more ways you can avoid impacting your health with modern “conveniences,” and even some of the bad habits that you were probably raised believing to be good for you.
You may have never even thought to question these dangers before, like many of the other topics I’ve already covered. The good thing is, you can make changes moving forward that will help you and your family lead a less toxic, less dangerous life.
Let’s jump right in.
As I got ready to write this article, I couldn’t help but put dentistry as the first topic. After all, it’s had a huge impact on my own health over the years, and I really don’t think that enough people recognize the danger that can lurk in the dentist’s chair.
When I was young, I had a number of cavities on my molars. The dentist filled them in with silver amalgam, which was probably the cheapest for my parents at the time. As an adult, I had planned to get them switched out for composite (tooth-colored) fillings for aesthetic purposes, and my dentist said no problem: he could just drill those silver fillings out and swap them in minutes.
Well, my dental insurance switched before I could make that appointment, and it was a few years before I could change those fillings. Now that I know what I know, I am incredibly thankful for that “inconvenience.” Allowing my dentist to grind those metal fillings to dust would have exposed me to life-altering toxins and heavy metals.
Amalgam fillings, which are still used every single day in typical dentistry practices, are some of the most dangerous substances that we could put in our bodies. More than 50% of dental amalgam is made of elemental mercury, a heavy metal that is well-known for causing neurological harm!
Just how bad is mercury? Well, this poison has the ability to cause muscle weakness, poor coordination, numbness, skin rashes, anxiety, memory problems, trouble speaking, hearing issues, and can even impact your vision. Mercury-based fillings are placed in your mouth, where you will inhale, ingest, and absorb their impacts for decades to come. Why is this still a thing?!
You’ve probably heard the about mad hatter syndrome – the disease that affected hatmakers due to their constant exposure to mercury vapors – right? This chronic poisoning (also referred to as erethism) made these men literally go crazy, as well as gave them tremors, headaches, and other neurological issues. All because they worked in a field that exposed them to mercury fumes on occasion.
Now, imagine how dangerous it would be to put mercury in your mouth! For decades! Especially as a child! Recent studies are also finding that the fumes put off from amalgam fillings (which continues for decades after they’re placed) are compounded when exposed to higher levels of EMFs. This means that your teeth could be poisoning you more and more each day, as our daily EMF exposure reaches all-time highs.
If you need dental work done, avoid amalgam at all costs. If you already have amalgam fillings, look for a biological dentist that can safely and appropriately remove your fillings and dispose of them in an environmentally-appropriate way. Simply allowing your family dentist to drill those fillings out means that you will absolutely ingest and inhale a slew of mercury dust – and that heavy metal toxicity could take years to remove.
To switch out my own amalgam fillings, I had to find a biological dentist in my area that specialized in removing this neurotoxic metal. She wore what looked like a HAZMAT suit, there was a special vacuum that caught the mercury fumes, I was given a nasal respirator so I didn’t inhale through my mouth, and a dental dam protected me from ingesting any of the amalgam bits. It seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie, but I was able to avoid those fillings causing me even more harm than they already had.
Unfortunately, amalgam isn’t the only dental concern to be aware of today. Many composite fillings and sealants are made with BPA-based resins. We covered the impacts of this estrogenic chemical in part two, but in case you missed it: BPA has the ability to disrupt every single endocrine system in our bodies, from our metabolism to our heart rate and everything in between. Avoid it at all costs.
Your best bet is to find a biological, holistic dentist who uses non-reactive, non-toxic materials and (hopefully) even tests you for biocompatibility. Avoid fluoride whenever possible, and focus your attention on why you have dental issues (deficiencies in vitamins D, K2, and A are usually the root cause!). You can also make your own toothpaste using our recipe on the Bone Marrow page.
After all, as we’ve already talked about in part one, our ancestors didn’t have the dental worries that we do today. They didn’t brush their teeth, didn’t floss, and didn’t get fluoride treatments or sealants as a child. And guess what? They also didn’t get cavities! This is due to a few different things: our diet has changed (now focusing more on carbohydrates and simple sugars), our gut flora has changed (allowing the bacteria that cause cavities to thrive), and our overall health has declined (due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies). By moving toward a healthier, ancestral way of life, you’ll see the benefits in your dental health, too.
Comment: Most people aren't ready to have the mercury removed from their mouths... they're not strong enough to endure the toxic load from the procedure. Get familiar with Louisa Williams' 5-Dental Detox Days and find a qualified biological dentist to get the job done right. Also, if you haven't already read the article ACTIVATING AN ANCIENT PATHWAY [FOR DENTAL HEALTH], it's a must read. Go to our Bone Marrow page and read that section.
I grew up eating home-grown (organic) foods and grassfed meats, thanks to my grandma’s farm. However, the first real change I ever made when attempting to detoxify my life involved the cleaning supplies in my home. Once I started eliminating cleaning products, it was like opening Pandora’s box – I couldn’t stop questioning (and tossing out) everything that I had once believed to be harmless!
I had grown up with the smell of Pinesol and Windex on Saturday mornings, along with fragrance plug-ins in every room and aerosol furniture polish. Every couple of months, we would bring out the Rug Doctor and scrub the carpets, complete with a foamy, concentrated carpet cleaner. Now? I can’t even stand the thought of those products, let alone the smell.
Obviously, our ancestors didn’t have a bucket of chemicals for their weekend clean-outs. Their huts and caves were kept tidy (probably with a light sweeping), but they weren’t likely to be concerned with streaks and a little dirt. In modern times, we can’t necessarily neglect our homes’ cleanliness altogether, but there are ways to keep healthy while we clean.
Today’s cleaning products are nothing short of noxious, dangerous toxins in a pretty spray bottle. They can disrupt our endocrine systems, give us headaches, cause respiratory distress, aggravate (or even cause) asthma, lead to neurological disorders, and even cause cancer. Honestly, we can’t even be surprised: almost all of today’s household cleaners have warnings on them that they are “hazardous to humans and pets.” Yet, we spritz our homes with them regularly, even around our children.
Here are a few of the most common toxins found in cleaning supplies, and why they are so dangerous:
Phthalates: If it’s fragranced or is an aerosol, it has phthalates. They’re even found in some toilet papers! These endocrine-disrupting chemicals will cause infertility, metabolic disorders, and migraines, to name a few.
PERC (Perchloroethylene): This “possible” carcinogen is found in dry cleaning solutions, carpet and upholstery cleaners, and even laundry spot removers. It’s so dangerous, in fact, that the state of California is forcing it to be phased out entirely by 2023. It is believed to cause cancer, but we also know that it causes dizziness, headaches, and respiratory distress due to the toxicity of this inhaled chemical.
Triclosan: Man, we did some serious harm – to ourselves and the environment – with the whole antibacterial movement. The introduction of triclosan, an antibacterial agent, into our soaps, laundry detergents, and even cutting boards had a huge impact on our health as well as our rivers and streams. Luckily, it was banned from antiseptic soaps last year, but you’ll still find it in some dish soaps, toothpastes, and body/acne washes. It’s a likely carcinogen, disrupts thyroid hormones, weakens the immune system, and even increases the chance of children developing allergies/asthma/eczema (likely due to its impact on gut flora).
Quaternary ammonium cations (QUATs): Found in laundry sheets, fabric softeners shampoos, and other disinfectants, QUATs cause incredible harm to the body. They’re responsible for about ¼ of all contact dermatitis cases, but can also cause reactions such as respiratory or gastrointestinal distress, skin irritation, and even coma/death. Personally, I’ll take a little static in my clothes over that.
Chlorine: Found in more places than just your neighborhood pool and tap water, chlorine can cause serious harm. You’ll see it in your laundry “brighteners,” toilet cleaners, and mildew removers. However, chlorine is a serious thyroid disruptor, causing incredible damage to your endocrine system.
I could quite literally go on for days talking about all of the toxic health hazards that you’ll find in your typical household cleaners, but you get the jist. If it comes in a pretty squirt bottle, it’s probably going to make your family sick.
Instead, there are so many natural options for keeping your home and clothes clean. Personally, I use a lot of vinegar and even baking soda. It gives me a streak-free clean on my mirrors, makes my clothes soft and fresh-smelling, and even brightens my bathroom ceramics. For my floors, I use a hot water and vinegar mixture combined with a little elbow grease. Good ol’ sunshine works wonders for freshening up clothes; if I use the dryer (usually in the winter), I use wool dryer balls instead of fabric softener.
Rather than use air fresheners to make your house smell better, work to eliminate the source of the funk. This is usually as easy as opening windows daily and adding house plants, both of which will circulate the stale air and help remove the toxins that you breathe in daily.
You might have the same effect as I did once you start eliminating these common toxins from your home: I’ve found that the longer I go without exposing myself to household cleaners, the less I can tolerate them. I used to scrub my floors with toxic cleaners weekly and spray air fresheners without abandon; now, if I walk into a home or public restroom that has recently used them, a headache begins almost immediately. This signals to me just how poisonous these chemicals really are.
Comment: Yes, good 'ol fashioned sunshine works wonders. We also only keep vinegar, baking soda and a little effort on hand to keep our home in good order... these same ingredients work for our dish washing and laundry as well.
If you could have seen my beauty products in college compared to now, you’d probably get a good laugh. I used to be a fan of those popular mall body shops, full of nostril-attacking fragrances. Now, my personal products involve a lot of clay, charcoal, and coconut oil.
I make my own toothpaste instead of buying toxic, fluoride-filled tubes at the store. Instead of soaking in fragranced bubble baths with petroleum-based chemicals, I add in epsom salts and bentonite clay to detoxify my body. And rather than slathering paraben- and phthalate-containing lotions on my body’s biggest organ (my skin), I enjoy the benefits of cold pressed, organic coconut oil.
Some of the worst personal product offenders I’ve found haven’t even been in my own cabinet, though; they’ve been in my children’s.
For instance, modern disposable diapers contain a disgusting number of toxins, from the bleach used on the linings to the VOCs and Sodium Polyacrylate in the absorbent core. Sure, these make it easier for your baby to be on the go, just dropping a diaper in the trash can at your next stop, but at what cost?
Disposable diapers are obviously a very modern invention, only coming around in the late 1940s. Before then, some form of natural diaper was the status quo for literally everyone, from the cloth diapers of our great-great-grandparents to the various inventions of some of our earliest ancestors.
For instance, many of our ancestors would wrap babies in animal skins or swaddling bands to contain waste. Innuits would wrap their babies in sealskin that was lined with moss for absorption. Incas made a similar “diaper” out of rabbit skin and grass (sounds itchy). Navajo mothers utilized shredded cliffrose bark, which they stuffed underneath their babies on their cradleboards. Beginning in Elizabethian times, mothers started using cloth diapers – though they didn’t wash them often back then, they would only dry them.
It wasn’t until just a few decades ago that we started putting toxic chemicals against our new babies’ soft skin and reproductive organs, though. Just how damaging are these irritating and carcinogenic chemicals, especially when they are placed against our babies’ skin 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from the moment they’re born until they’re 2-3 years old? We don’t really know, but I would guess it’s pretty bad.
Instead of putting your baby’s sensitive organs in a chemical casing, look into natural options. For my sons, I used organic cloth diapers which I bleached in the sun. The benefit was twofold: they weren’t subject to toxins daily and they potty-trained faster because the cotton isn’t as absorbent (and therefore, more uncomfortable to sit in). Some of my friends took it a step further, practicing elimination communication to potty train their babies from birth.
Whatever you choose, be sure that the things you are putting on your and your children’s skin is natural and free of dangerous toxins… from beauty products to diapers, lotions to shampoos, and everything in between.
Comment: This is why I say to avoid non-native things. If you're not wearing native, natural clothing (especially near your nether regions), you're just asking for trouble.
The last danger I want to talk about doesn’t fit into the “household” category or the “environmental” category. Like EMF exposure, it’s near-constant in our lives. Unlike EMFs, though – which we cannot completely eliminate due to power lines, cell towers, and such – we can control our exposure to this next danger: blue light.
Blue light is the highest energy wavelength of visible light. It’s found predominantly in modern tech devices, such as the cell phone you might be reading this article on or even your computer screen. It’s also emitted by the sun – so our ancestors encountered it – but, of course, this source isn’t available 24 hours a day.
Blue light is also incredibly harmful, as it’s the only color of light that’s able to penetrate all the way to back of the eye, through our retina, and into our optic nerve. More importantly, the damage caused by blue light is cumulative, and can even lead to macular degeneration (inevitable blindness) in some people.
Children are the most at-risk when it comes to blue light, since they don’t yet have the blue pigments required to filter out much of this wavelength of light. This worries me considerably, as my own kids use computer screens and tablets at school almost daily (much to my dismay), and spend many of their hours in a classroom lit by fluorescent (blue-emitting) light bulbs.
Aside from the physical danger that it poses to your eyesight, blue light can have other health impacts.
If you’re exposed to blue light in the hours before bed, it can actually suppress your body’s melatonin production. This can lead to difficulty falling asleep (or even full-blown insomnia), as well as a delay in reaching REM sleep once you do finally zonk out. This means that you will be unable to get adequate sleep, and the sleep you do get will be insufficient to help fuel and heal your body.
Messing with the body’s circadian rhythms can have a significant effect on your health, beyond just making you tired. It can create problems with your cardiovascular, metabolic, and immune systems. It can disturb your mood and compromise your cognitive function. If you are ill or your body is trying to fight the effects of a toxic environment, a skewed circadian rhythm will keep you from healing.
To ensure that blue light doesn’t become one of the biggest players in the breakdown of your health, there are a few things you need to do. First, put your cell phone/laptop down. Not only will this help you foster strong relationships with those around you, but it’ll have a positive impact on your mental well-being. Oh, and you’ll avoid blue light damage accumulation.
If you do use your phone or computer, try to avoid it after about 7-8pm. Now look, I get it: I am a writer, and the evenings are often my time to work uninterrupted. So putting away my devices after sundown isn’t always possible. Well, if you absolutely must use them after dark, at least wear blue light blocking lenses. These lenses are incredibly affordable, and work to safeguard your eyes (and your body) from the impacts of that high-energy light. You’ll sleep better, your eyes won’t be as strained, and you can avoid the irreparable damage that an iPad can cause to your kids’ eyes.
Comment: I suggest wearing the UVEX glasses at least 2 hours before going to bed. Even when our whole house is light only by firelight only, I find myself reaching for the glasses because I don't want even a glimpse of artificial ambient light to disrupt my sleep physiology. Once again, they cost 10 bucks... the benefits are massive.
While these last three posts have covered a lot of modern dangers, it really only scratches the surface. In today’s world, almost everything that you buy, touch, or wear is toxic in some form or fashion.
The key is to make small, lasting changes in your life and in your home. Believe me: once you begin to move toward a more natural, ancestral way of living, the changes will come on their own. The lifestyle shift that might seem impossible to make today will slowly, but surely, find its hold.
If you truly want to avoid danger like our ancestors, it takes a concerted effort. Figure out the areas of your life that are the most dangerous, and begin there. For some of you, that might be eliminating toxins in your home. For others, it might be a shift in your diet or the things that you put into your body (and your kids’ bodies).
Even if the change feels overwhelming, start by taking one small step at a time. One day, you’ll look back and realize that you’ve come a long, long way. Trust me, I did.
Written by Stephanie Colestock, Part 2 — What You Put In Your Body
Comments by Brian Johnson (Liver King)
The world around us today is full of danger… but maybe not in the way you would expect. Unless you’re already paying attention, you might not even realize all the dangers that lurk, even in your own home.
If you have been reading the blog, you probably already saw part one of this series on Avoiding Dangers Like Our Ancestors. (If not, be sure to check it out here). In that article, we talked about some of the biggest threats in your environment – especially those that fill your home – many of which you probably never questioned before. Things like furniture, carpeting, EMFs, and even your bedding can slowly poison you and your family, impact your hormones, make you sick, and even cause cancer.
Unfortunately, many of these dangers are difficult, if not possible, to avoid entirely. As you’ll see in part one, things like EMF exposure are simply a part of life, and your priority should be on reducing exposure or minimizing its impact.
Today, however, we are going to delve into some of the dangers that are well-within your control. In fact, all of these are things that you spend your money on and choose to put into your body.
Not only can they have the most immediate and significant impact on your health, but you’re actually paying for them to do so. It’s a crazy thought, once you sit back and consider it.
With that said, let’s get started.
What You Put In Your Body
By far, the most impactful toxins are the ones that you put into your body. Whether through ingestion or injection, these dangerous substances (often disguised as safe or even “healthy”) can wreak havoc on your body. They can disrupt your hormones, throw off your mineral balances, overwork your body’s filters (liver, kidney, lymphatic system), and even settle in your organs where they’ll continue to do damage for years.
Now, some of you might be saying,”We never worried about this stuff growing up and we are fine!” or “I know someone who smoked/drank/etc. every day and lived to be 95.” Sure, that might be true, but there are a few important things to remember:
Those people were built with more biological resilience than modern day man.
Those stories are the exception, not the rule.
The world today is exponentially more toxic as a whole. The cumulative effect is much more significant today than it was 60, 30, or even 10 years ago, especially on humans whose bodies are undernourished, lacking vitamins and minerals, and are being bombarded by toxins all around.
Not only are these dangers everywhere we look today, but the impact they have is greater. It doesn’t matter whether you worried about these things when you were a child – you need to worry about them now.
Plastics & Chemical Leaching
I was a child of the 80s, but I also spent most of my childhood on my grandma’s farm. This means that I got to enjoy some of the simpler things in life, such as fresh milk in glass bottles, fresh-picked veggies from the garden, and home-cooked meals. Plastic wasn’t seen very often, and we were better off for it.
My experience growing up was another case of exception versus rule, though… and it’s only gotten worse.
Today, plastics run the world. They are everywhere, from our water bottles and frozen meal containers to children’s toys, food storage bags, sippy cups, and even the lining of our canned goods. They are cheaper, lighter, and often more convenient than their safer alternatives (like glass or steel), so they proliferate our lives. And, as you could probably expect, they have a detrimental impact on our health.
Almost all plastics have the ability to leach – or essentially leak – chemicals into the food and drink that they contain. When plastics are heated, they leach these chemicals faster; unfortunately, they even have the ability to leach chemicals even when they aren’t heated. Many of these are estrogenic chemicals, or chemicals that mimic estrogen.
So, just how bad are these endocrine-disrupting chemicals? Well, they have the ability to entirely derail any system in your body that is controlled by hormones… which is almost all of them. Here are a few of the biggest glands in the endocrine system, and what they do:
Thymus: Produces T-cells (the fighter cells of your immune system) and supports the function of the adaptive immune system
Pineal: Manages and produces melatonin, which impacts your body’s sleep cycles
Pancreas: Controls the production of insulin and the management of blood sugar
Adrenal: Manages your body’s stress response, as well as controls your cortisol levels
Thyroid: Controls the hormones that impact your heart rate, metabolism, and certain neurological pathways
Parathyroid: Controls the amount of calcium in the body
Hypothalamus: Controls and manages a slew of body functions, including thirst, hunger, body temperature, mood, sex drive, and sleep
What about BPA-free plastics, which claim to be safer than their counterparts? Well, unfortunately, BPA isn’t the only estrogenic chemical around. In fact, a recent study found that plastics without BPA were just as dangerous (and in some cases, more dangerous) than their “normal plastic” competitors when it came to leaching toxic, estrogen-mimicking chemicals.
Ingesting chemicals that disrupt these systems can have serious and life-altering impacts, from causing weight gain and fatigue to immune deficiencies, cognitive issues, and even cancers. Every time you let your child drink from a plastic cup, put your leftovers in plastic food storage containers, or eat vegetables from a standard lined can, you are consuming these estrogenic chemicals. Ridding your home of chemicals is not just preferred… it’s imperative.
Of course, our ancestors didn’t have to worry about plastics and manmade chemicals causing cancer. They carried food in clay pots and later, glass or metal. They ate with their hands and wooden utensils, and carried water in pouches made from animal skin. Today, your choices are more limited.
For plates and cups, look to lead-free natural ceramics or non-reactive stainless steel. For food storage, there are many great choices – in my home, we use a combination of glass, beeswax-coated fabrics, and paper.
Avoid canned goods whenever possible, due to the plastic lining that’s sprayed inside. Instead, opt for fresh foods (they’re more nutritious anyway!) or those preserved in glass jars. Toss out your plastic food storage bags and cling wrap, and switch from plastic water bottles to reusable glass.
You’ll inevitably come in contact with plastics, as they are everywhere. If you want to mitigate the impact that they have on your body, be sure to utilize endocrine supports.
Comment: Yes, I'm a man... but you'd be surprised what I've learned about estrogen because of how it impacted my own life. Just as Stephanie has stated, estrogen producing compounds are pervasive in our modern world and its far reaching affects create concerns for both men and women. When I have this conversation with people, I always go back to the root cause narrative.
As it relates to root cause, "supplements" aren't the ultimate solution and neither is monotherapy anything (but you already know this) which is why you're eating and living in alignment with the Primal Blueprint, with Ancestral Living! To get healthy, and to keep it that way, we need a total system approach with diet, lifestyle and behavior.
For instance, tt's common that when someone "supplements" with progesterone, or any other sex steroid hormone for that matter, that the negative feedback loop, and receptor site down regulation, affects all sex steroids. This is why progesterone can offer early benefit for so many, but over time (when the body realizes what's going on), the body senses that down stream metabolites / hormones (estrogen, cortisol, etc) are "above normal" for homeostasis so the body's negative feedback loop starts to slow down the production of all of these hormones in an effort to reduce the offending agent. What's more is that the receptors sites for these hormones down regulate, or become less sensitive over time, as another biological mechanism to reduce the "free" amount of these hormones, in an effort to bring the body back into balance. This may be the explanation for low hormones.
That said, balancing estrogen naturally should be a major focus for both men and women. Bear in mind that almost everyone is bathing in phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens in the modern world... Ten years ago, I was too... I developed a lump in my chest and it grew... my estrogen was way, way higher than it should have been... yes, I had estrogen dominance. I eliminated all phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens from my life (which is why I talk about not eating nor drinking nor wearing from non-native materials) because this is yet another source of estrogen. It turns out that I am also homozygous for the COMT gene which means that I have an 80% decreased capacity to clear estrogen (thanks ma, thanks dad!). That said, I eliminated all sources of phyto and xeno estrogens, I provided my body with all the things it needs for phase I and phase II detox (all on the About Us page here: https://ancestralsupplements.com/about-us.html) and I further supported my methalyation metabolism with lots and lots of liver and egg yolks. My estrodial (e2) went from >80 pg / ml to within 22 - 26 pg / ml, the lump totally went away and my life is way, way, way better now as a result of these learnings.
Once again, think root cause... and yes, this is only one of them! In biological systems, it's rarely one (or) the other that produces results (for good or bad) but rather the combination of diet, lifestyle and behavior. I suggest ancestral living...
Do a google search "list of all phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens" and avoid these as much as you can
Continue or implement a primal aligned eating pattern -- this is major!!
Consume Liver, Bone Marrow, sunshine and add in plenty of egg yolks to the tune of at least a couple a day (I do six to eight, yes, I'm extreme!)
Add kimchi and/or sauerkraut - phase II detox support and vitamin K2
Mind your magnesium with oral and /or transdermal magnesium oil
Wear the uvex glasses and eliminate all ambient light
As always, move more...
I've probably said too much... but there, I've said it. Maybe this will help one person... be it man or woman! Thanks for listening.
This is a controversial topic for many, but one that I’m personally passionate about. You see, I have a vaccine-injured child, who wound up in the hospital mere hours after a vaccine at 23 months old – something that I, with a strong medical background, never really believed was possible. He’s been fighting the impacts of that injury ever since (he’s almost 8 years-old now).
Whether you believe that vaccines are vital to our society or not (nutrition is more impactful, but that’s another topic), there’s an undeniable fact: modern vaccines are also full of chemicals and preservatives that are toxic to our bodies.
While the concept of inoculation isn’t on its own controversial, today’s shots aren’t the pure compounds they once were. Today, they are filled with things like:
Heavy metals, such as thimerosal (mercury) and aluminum (a known neurotoxin)
Formaldehyde (a carcinogenic)
Ethylene glycol (a primary component in antifreeze)
Polysorbate-80 and Oxtoxynol-10 (carcinogenic preservatives linked to infertility)
Traces of antibiotics
Bovine and human blood serum
too many more to list...
If ingested (swallowed by mouth), your organs would do a really great job at filtering most of these substances out. For the most part, they would be excreted thanks to your liver and kidneys and perhaps you wouldn’t see any serious impacts.
However, that’s not what we do. Instead, we bypass our body’s natural safeguards and inject these substances directly into the bloodstream. Think about it: you could drink a gallon of milk without a problem, but would you inject that same milk directly into your bloodstream? Of course not! Injection and ingestion are not the same, no matter what substances we are talking about.
Instead, if you are concerned about certain illnesses and diseases, your focus should be on building the immune system. If your family is healthy and adequately nourished, they will be less susceptible to the germs they encounter; even if you do get sick, a healthy immune system will be able to fight off the illness sooner, building antibodies that will stay with you for life.
Vitamins A, B6, C, D, and E are some of the most impactful for immune system health. You can get them by eating an organic, grassfed, and fresh diet that includes organ meats, as well as getting enough midday sunlight. You should also focus on getting enough folate (not the same as it’s common, synthetic form: folic acid!), iron, zinc, and selenium. You’ll also find these in our Grassfed Beef Organs, in addition to Brazil nuts (selenium) and eating leafy greens (folate).
Comment: I believe in honoring the ways of our ancestors. Most of us have the right to choose... I choose to not vaccinate my flesh and blood... I choose to avoid danger... I choose native wisdom over commercial interests.
Pesticides and Hormones in Food
So, we already talked about how detrimental hormones in our food can be. They can disrupt development in children, cause early puberty, and even promote certain cancers, among other issues. They should be avoided at all costs, along with various chemicals used as pesticides today.
Modern day pesticides are one of the worst health offenders we have. These chemicals infiltrate the vast majority of our food supply, introducing things like benzene, ammonia, arsenic, methanol, and chlorine, among others, into the very flesh of the foods we consume. With many of these chemicals, no amount of washing the exterior will remove them – every bite you take will contain these toxins.
Our ancestors didn’t have to worry about these sorts of things, of course. They consumed animals (nose-to-tail) that grazed off the land. They grew fruits and vegetables in their local, nutrient-rich soil and pest-control was done naturally. Today, we are more limited in our options.
Not all of us have the space available to tend our own gardens, though this is ideal. If at all possible, growing your own fruits and vegetables is the best option, allowing you to save money and avoid chemicals in the process. However, you can also look at local co-ops, farmers markets, or, as a last resort, buy only organic and non-GMO produce at your local grocery store.
If you don’t have the land for (or interest in) raising your own animals for food, there are alternatives to be found no matter where you are. Local farms usually offer you the option to purchase a half or whole animal, giving you a variety of fresh cuts including organ meats and bones for stock. There are also cow-shares offered, where you can split the cost of raising the animal with other families and share in the milk/meat produced.
At the very least, if you must resort to commercially-available animal products, ensure that the meat you buy is grassfed and grass finished. As often as possible, incorporate organ meats into your diet.
If you can’t stomach the idea of cooking up liver for supper (if we’re being honest, I’m right there with you), you know where to turn: the Grassfed Beef Organs supplement. It contains equal parts beef liver, heart, pancreas, spleen, and kidney – five organs that I honestly couldn’t bring myself to actually eat (at least, not yet), but are incredibly important to our bodies’ processes.
Comment: We procure our food from 100% pasture-raised, grass fed and grass finished farms... from good, decent, hard working people that we actually know. I suggest for everyone to get to know their local farmers. If that's not happening, email me and I'll point ya in the right direction.
How You Cook Your Food
While we are on the topic of food, let’s chat a bit about how our food is prepared. We already went over plates and cups, and how your food is stored, but what about how you cook it? Are you introducing dangerous toxins every time you prepare a meal?
Our ancestors were a resourceful bunch. They would cook on hot stones, put meat on a spit across an open flame, and make stews in cast iron pots. Today, we get takeout in styrofoam containers, heat up a plastic container of frozen casserole, grab a BPA-lined can of green beans, and throw meatloaf in a Teflon-lined pan. Add to it the toxins involved with the non-organic, GMO foods these meals already contain, and it’s chemical you-know-what-storm.
Non-stick cookware is an incredibly dangerous offender. Sure, the non-stick coatings make mealtime a bit easier – after all, who wants to scrape eggs out of a pan? – but that convenience comes at the cost of your health. This non-stick coating is made from perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), yet another carcinogen that’s in almost every American household. Not only does this chemical wind up in your food (especially if the pan is every scratched), but it also emits toxic fumes every single time you heat and cook with the pan.
Another convenience that is wreaking havoc on your health? The microwave. Ah, yes, one of modern man’s most beloved appliances, allowing us to cook potatoes in mere minutes and reheat last night’s dinner before the end of the commercial break.
Except that it’s dangerous, and the risks well-outweigh the benefits.
Microwaves cook food through radiation. In order to keep that radiation from frying your brain cells as you watch your food spin ‘round-and-’round, a tight seal is utilized around the door. Unfortunately, this seal wears over time, eventually allowing radiation to leak into your kitchen every time you press Start.
That’s not all, though. The radiation and high heat involved with microwaving your food kills many of the nutrients, making your already nutritionally-lacking food (thanks to weak soil and modern farming practices) even less healthy.
So, what’s the alternative? I mean, your family has to eat, and we can’t all roast a pig over an open flame each night. Well, there are a few options.
First off, throw out everything in your home that is non-stick. It’s toxic, pure and simple. For bakeware, opt for lead-free glass dishes (be careful: two of the most popular glass bakeware brands are not lead-free) or cast iron. Cook over an open flame whenever possible, and toss your microwave. The few minutes you’ll save by nuking that broccoli isn’t worth the impact to your health and the loss of nutrition for your family.
Comment: You won't find modern inventions like teflon nor the microwave in our house. We use stainless steel and/or cast iron and tons of tallow, lard and ghee for cooking. Couple this with low heat (i.e. < 300 degrees) and you'll make totally delicious food with easy clean up... without AGEs to boot!
We all know that cancer and heart disease are epidemics today. In fact, 1 in every 3 people will get cancer of some kind in their lifetime, and 1 in every 4 U.S. deaths is due to heart disease – scary stuff, huh? Even scarier are the studies finally linking these life-altering diseases with one of the biggest components of the modern diet: sugar.
Sugar has the ability to cause serious harm to our bodies, especially in its processed forms. It contributes to inflammation in our organs, setting off a response that keeps our adrenal and immune systems on high-alert. Sugar feeds the yeast cells that we all have in our gut, throwing off our natural flora and causing issues with digestion, nutrient absorption, and even cognitive processes. Oh, and many scientists believe that it plays a big role in feeding cancer cells.
Unfortunately, sugar is everywhere. We add processed sugar to everything from “natural fruit juice” (which is already sweet!) to breads, pastas, nut butters, soups, and yogurts. If it’s sold on store shelves, chances are that sugar has been added.
Our ancestors ate very little sugar. Fruits were only available in certain seasons (and in certain non-ice age periods) and were hard to come by – ancestral diets were savory as a result, consisting mostly of animal meats, seeds, nuts and some vegetables. In the 1700s, for instance, the average human consumed about 4.9 grams of sugar a day. Today? We consume an average of 227 grams of sugar a day. (Some estimates have the average human today consuming almost 2 tons of sugar over the course of their lifetime…)
Instead, focus your diet away from processed foods. If it comes in a box, tub, or package, don’t eat it. Choose to eat fresh, organic fruits and vegetables instead, along with nuts, seeds, and, of course, grassfed meats. If you absolutely must add a touch of sweet to your food, opt for raw local honey.
Comment: You'll find 100% cacao and raw, local honey in our house. Thems the making for some good tastings!
What’s In Your Water
The last danger zone of consumption that we will talk about today is your water. We no longer gather our family’s water from fresh springs or clear streams, like our ancestors. Instead, we get the convenience of on-demand taps in almost every area of our home. But is that water safe?
We’ve already mentioned how drinking out of plastic water bottles will ensure that you also consume a slew of estrogenic chemicals. However, did you realize that even drinking from your tap, well, or a filtered water source in your home can be toxic? Depending on where you live and the source of your water, it’s absolutely the case.
Most city water sources are treated today, pumped full of chemicals long before it ever reaches your home. The most popular are fluoride and chlorine, but you’ll often find arsenic, heavy metals like lead and mercury, nitrates, pesticides from farm run-off, and even hormones and antibiotics that are leaked into the water supply. All of these flow through the pipes and into your home, where you and your children drink, eat, and bathe in them on a daily basis.
Once I learned just how toxic our tap water could be, I set out to do something about it. My ideal solution was a reverse osmosis system throughout our home, which would even treat the water used in our showers, but it was cost-prohibitive. Instead, we went with a Berkey system.
Your typical pitcher-filter will remove some impurities, but not the ones that are particularly nasty. Things like fluorine salts and heavy metals are much more difficult to trap, which is where a system like Berkey (and a few others similar to it) shine.
The system in our home, for instance, filters out arsenic, heavy metals, fluoride (our city treats the water, “for dental health”), bacteria and other impurities, as well as viruses and hormones that may also find their way into our taps. Some hard-core filtration systems can remove beneficial minerals from the water as well as the dangerous substances; while our Berkey does not, it’s important to know if the system you choose does, so that you can add trace minerals back into your water.
Comment: We don't touch tap water... not even in the shower! We source our water from natural springs and store it in non-lead glass vessles. When we're ready to drink our water, we structure it as it exists in nature. For the shower, get a whole house filter like Stephanie suggests or at least get a shower filter and change it every 3 months.
There are many things in today’s world that are toxic. In fact, we are surrounded by dangerous substances everywhere we look, in everything that we wear, eat, touch, and even breathe. While we can’t entirely eliminate risks like radiation and polluted air, we can control the things that we consume.
By being mindful of the foods we eat, the water we drink, how we prepare our meals, and how we store our food, we can further eliminate toxins in our lives. This will help us to not only support our body’s natural defenses, but correct the damage that today’s toxic world can cause.
Comment: Just in case you don't read part 1, here it is again... implement lifestyle, diet, and behavioral changes to avoid danger, reduce exposures, reduce toxic load, and always provide your environment and your body with detox support. The following summary is from our "About Us" page. Just in case this is the only piece you see on our site, I want to provide these bullets for you here too...
Avoid Danger To Begin With, Then Support Detox & Methylation Pathways
Eat Liver, Bone Marrow & Get More Methylation Support (i.e. pastured, organic egg yolks, creatine, sprouted chickpeas)
Support Liver & NRF2 w/ Milk Thistle, Turmeric and Kimchi-Like Foods (e.g. cabbage, broccoli, cruciferous veggies)
Drink Adequate Native, Non-Treated Spring Water; Add Lots Of Himalayan Sea Salt
Include Chlorella, Especially For Heavy Metal Detox... Especially if you have headaches... Especially if you have or had amalgam / mercury fillings.
Do Contrast Showers, Do More Movement, Do Saunas
Take Activated Charcoal Between Meals (this is temporary)
Get Plenty Of Magnesium & Turn Off Wifi To Mitigate "Some" Of The Harmful Effects Of EMFs
Get Lots Of House Plants To Mitigate "Some" Of Those Offgassing VOCs
Get Native, Natural Furniture, Flooring, Clothing & Toiletries
The Ultimate Is The 5-Day Water Only Fast; more on that later...