I get loads of great questions from you all. I want to share some of the answers too since some of the questions are very similar sometimes and we can all benefit from a good old Q and A session once a week!
This weeks question;
Since having children (like many other mums I’m sure) I have started to think about what we eat much more carefully and try to ensure that my kids eat home-made, organic food most of the time, although this is not always easy where I live. The air pollution is driving me nuts and really stresses me out and I just wondered what advice you have to help little bodies process toxins, and what I can do to boost their immune systems?
I am already hiding kale, chia seeds and flax seed meal in everything, giving them macro cocoa greens, reducing gluten and trying to minimise sugar, but I just wondered what your top super foods / supplements would be? What about other ways to reduce the toxic load? I use a more natural toothpaste, natural sunscreen, plant-based shampoos, natural cleaning products etc but don’t make anything myself in terms of products. I guess what I asking is for your top ten tips on how to pollution proof my kids!
Here’s what Loula says!
Thanks for a great question. Pollution is a worldwide environmental impact that we have some control over. here would be my top 10 tips…
1. Natural air purifiers; Air purifiers can actually stress the body out. The body is a well tuned machine with inbuilt systems to process and eliminate toxins. We are designed to live in harmony with our environment and whilst I agree that there are countries/cities with a higher amount of particles in the air and our bodies need support- by creating a bubble with an air-purifier may actually stress the body out more than you appreciate (not to mention increase environmental impact with their energy needs).
Just like our body suffers from the constant changes from aircon/humid heat or heating/cold outside air, the body suffers from going from purified air to normal environment. Especially when the purifier is also eradicating all bacterial elements as well. Balanced bacteria as I will mention later is key to helping the body process and eliminate (or detox) toxins on a daily basis. Instead we should be focusing on trying to reduce our environmental impact everyday to do our small part to help heal the planet. Buy some natural air-purifiers- plants, salt lamps, use aromatherapy diffusers as a natural air freshener and ionisers instead.
2. Reduce environmental toxins that can be controlled. This means reducing all chemical cleaners and cosmetics. Also consider the chemicals your clothes have gone through before you bought them. Your home can actually contain more chemicals than your outer environment. All plastics, paints, cd’s, furniture and fire retardants used on carpets, mattresses and so on all release fumes into the air.
You can reduce this with the above natural air-purifiers but also by reducing any further chemical impact. Natural household cleaners are very simple to make. Culture Your Life is full of my recipes; including toilet cleaner, bath and shower cleaner (which is important to me because the kids sit in the bath every night), laundry detergent, veggie and fruit wash (as I can’t buy everything organic!) and multi-purpose cleaner (see my recipe here on Good Girl Gone Green. I also use a chemical free dish washing liquid. Steam cleaners are very effective and naturally effective.
I have several natural cosmetics recipes such as healing body butter, coconut and carrot seed sunscreen, homemade toothpaste and you can use a crystal deodorant mixed with essential oils. Otherwise use my Nourishing and Healing search engine which will only search sites I know and trust. Many have amazing cosmetics and cleaning product recipes. Most are very simple to make and use ingredients you probably already have! Let me know if I can help you source ingredients.
3. Water is a huge cleanser and supports the body to help eliminate toxins. However most of our water supply is also devoid of balanced bacteria and teaming with chemicals. Chlorine and fluoride amongst others are going to have an effect on chemical impact. There are many different filtration systems. Drinking water can be re-mineralised with mineral drops, standing water on the side for a few minute can allow chlorine to evaporate. Fermenting the water is a key way to support the body.
Baths can be massively enhanced with epsom salts or himalayan salt, calendula tincture or cooled chamomile/calendula tea, lavender (or other aromatherapy oils), kefir and coconut oil/sweet almond oil. I ensure my kids bathe in a combination of these every night. The water not only supports the body but it also serves as their shampoo!
4. Fermented foods are the best way to consume balanced bacteria. Proven to boost the immune system and support the liver bacteria has so many roles in the body- some of which we still do not completely understand. A nice way of balancing your environment is using a kefir hand sanitiser (recipe in Culture Your Life), a room spray with kefir/kombucha and aromatherapy oils, as well as consuming them and using them as cleaners and cosmetics (there are many companies trying to use bacteria in their cosmetics nowadays!) See my post about it here on Thank Your Body. As a natural barrier a kefir sprayed on the skin for example after swimming can really make a difference (after swimming spray recipe can be found in Culture Your Life)
5. Sea vegetables are a very effective chelator of radiation and heavy metals. Chorella and spirulina are examples which you can get in a good green powder (I can help you source a good one- however raw organic ones are a good starting point- I like this one here) but also Kombu. Kombu can be added to soups, stews, stocks, sauces as a great seasoning and then may be removed before eating. Seaweed snacks are a great way to consume sea veg, however check your ingredients labels as many contain undesirable oils and msg. The cleanest one I have found is here or here depending on how you feel about sunflower oil. In Hong Kong I buy the organic one from Green Dot Dot or nori sheets from iDetox
6. Liver support is also important especially if alongside environmental toxins antibiotics or other pharmaceuticals like anti-histamines, anti-inflammatories or other medications are used on a regular basis. Glutamine, gelatin, milk thistle and bacteria (of course!) are good starting points. Anti-oxidants like vitamin c and vitamin a rich foods are also a good to include.
7. Immune support/Anti-inflammatory nutrients are key. Daily intakes of these nutrients can help support the body to do its job. Stress and inflammation go hand in hand so helping the body reduce some internal stress by providing nurturing nutrients is great when trying to prevent illness. This elderberry cordial is a great immune tonic and is very simple to make as is this honey and onion cough syrup (it tastes way nice than it sounds. Turmeric tea is also a great and effective way of moderating inflammation and is a great anti-oxidant and immune support.
Gelatin is also anti-inflammatory and I know my kids just love these Kefir Gummies (making them with the elderberry cordial makes them a double bonus!). You can make them with anything- here are my more adult coffee ones with kefir but I have also made chocolate ones and all sorts of fruit flavours using fruit puree. For anti-inflammatory and immune support try lemon, ginger and honey with kefir or berry puree and kefir! Fats are also a very important anti-inflammatory and immune supportive nutrients especially coconut oil. This can be used internally (a spoonful a day which can be added to smoothies, juices, nut milks) or externally on the skin as a natural barrier.
There is also interesting research that showed bees in more polluted areas actually provide support form those environmental pollutants in their honey. If you can find raw local honey (here is the Hong Kong Source) a spoonful of this will be a great addition to immune health. I dont suppose anyone will have trouble convincing a child to eat a spoonful of this (immune boosting) sugar!!
Vitamin D is also a key immune supportive nutrient. I recommend this product as it is easy to take and has all the nutrient co-factors that make it very absorbable. However a good intake of organic cultured or raw butter/ghee (get ghee here or here in Hong Kong) can also help increase vitamin d intake as it is a fat soluble nutrient. Also get out in the sunshine- the eyes actually process a big amount of vit d so allowing kids some time in the sunshine without any sunscreen/hats/sunglasses for a period of time (about 15-40 mins depending on skin colour and sun intensity) can be very beneficial (WARNING; never allow your skin to burn!)
8. The stress of pollution doing damage may actually be more damaging than the actual pollution itself! Stress maintains inflammation and therefore can actually weaken the digestive system and immune system. Emotion Freedom Technique (EFT- here is my experience with it) is a key way I have changed my core belief towards many limiting factors in my life. Halting life with fear keeps the body in stagnation and restricts enjoyment of life. Children will pick up on this and it will be built into their core belief system too. We can quickly and easily change this with EFT for us and the kids. EFT has been seen to change both physical and emotional impacts and imbalances.
9. Bach flower Remedies are another route to help clear the body of negative residues. Bach believed that all physical issues have an emotional starting point. Most of the damage of pollution is based on fear, fear leads to conscious and subconscious stress. As above- releasing these emotions is key to health. Simply using rescue remedy on a daily basis can help. It can be added to water too for ease of kids taking it- although mine love getting the spray! You can also contact your local Bach Flower Practitioner (me if I am local to you) to get a personal blend made up with some positive affirmations for go with them and move you forward energetically and also physically.
10. Other supportive treatments like homeopathy, bioresonance, acupuncture, herbal remedies, reflexology, massage (especially lymphatic drainage) and breathing (yoga, meditation, exercise) can all be massively beneficial to support the body physically, emotionally and energetically. Do something you love doing and don’t allow fear to keep you indoors. Coughs are the body’s way of getting foreign matter out of the body- never fear a cough or suppress it. Rosemary and thyme are great expectorants to help the body lift the phlem up and out!
Hope this helps and although I have had other questions this week I think this covers a few of them…
More next week- be sure to ask me your questions.