You try to take care of yourself. You’re doing everything right. Or so you think.
But hidden health hazards lurk. Everywhere, it seems.
Unfortunately, we live in a toxic culture. The foods we eat and the air we breathe contain potentially hazardous chemicals. I believe our bodies are designed to handle toxins. But only to a point.
In general, holistic health experts worry about toxins. That’s because they don’t see disease as a mysterious process, which happens if you’re not lucky enough to stay well. Instead, they believe illness is caused by stress, toxins and nutritional deficiencies. They focus on removing these causes.
This is radically different than mainstream medicine. Little attention is paid to prevention. The solutions are generally drugs or surgery. The drugs may create additional symptoms. More drugs are needed. We don’t get well. Instead, we become chronically ill.
Many of us have figured this out. So we turn to natural medicine.
But even if you’re doing all the right things, it’s easy to overlook a couple of hidden health hazards.
5 Natural Health Mistakes You Could Be Making
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First, let me say that I’m not a doctor. Everything you see here is my personal opinion only. It’s the end result of years of trial and error. Because I developed chronic nerve inflammation. For long-lasting natural relief I had to reduce my exposure to toxins.
Toxins cause inflammation. Inflammation causes pain. I’ve found that the path to wellness is pretty much standard. You need to reduce your exposure to toxins. Then you need to eat a nutritious, balanced diet. Real food instead of junk food. Organic if you can.
I realize organic food is pricey. I’ve learned to shop really carefully. Here are some tips for affording organic food when you’re on a budget.
Natural Health Mistakes To Avoid
Anyway, no matter how hard you try, it’s really easy to miss something. That’s because our environment is swimming in toxins. Also, some healthy products are deceptively labeled. So we may not be getting the real thing. Or adulterants may be added.
Natural health has also become corporate. Many dietary supplements aren’t all that healthy. Supplements are also big business, just like drugs.
Keep reading and I’ll explain why I never ever take laboratory made multivitamins.
Avoiding Herbal Isolates and Laboratory Made Vitamins
People have been taking herbs for ages, probably since the beginning of time. Until recently, these were always whole herbs.
Lately, though, isolates and extracts have hit the market. These are synthesized extracts of what is believed to be the main active ingredient. The problem, however, is that plants are complex structures. They may contain other active ingredients not yet studied.
Whole herbs likely contain other compounds that help the active ingredients do their job, or modify their effect. When these are removed, the end result may act more like a drug.
Professional herbalists are not fond of isolates. They work with time-tested whole herbs.
Whole herbs are the only thing I buy and recommend to my readers. My favorite herbal remedy is Oregon’s Wild Harvest Stress Guard, made from organic whole herbs.
During the winter, I may take a whole food multivitamin that contains Vitamin D. These vitamins are derived from food, not synthesized in a lab. So they contain the micro-nutrients that may be missing from synthetic vitamins.
Still, I don’t take whole food multivitamins every day. That’s because I prefer to get my nutrients from food, rather than from a bottle.
Taking Dietary Supplements for Too Long
Dietary supplements are very popular. As estimated 68 percent of adults in the United States take these over-the-counter nutrients and remedies, according to a 2015 survey published by The Council for Responsible Nutrition.
Widely available, you can find all sorts of dietary supplements locally. You can also order them online. Many of them contain herbs. The problem, though, is that herbs aren’t meant to be taken indefinitely.
But you’d never know this from the directions on the bottle. Invariably, it will say take once or twice a day, with no end point in sight.
Holistic health experts don’t agree. Herbal remedies are time specific.
You’re supposed to stop taking herbal remedies when they do their job. Some very good and succinct advice comes from Dr. John Douillard, DC’s website. He says, “The goal is to get on the herb, get better and then wean off the herb.” The time frame he gives on this is between one to three months.
Problems With Wide Spectrum Homeopathic Remedies
I often see natural remedies designed for a specific problem, such as anxiety, or insomnia or chronic pain. They typically include a long list of ingredients, including one or more homeopathic remedies.
Homeopathy is an amazing healing method. We’ve been using homeopathy for decades. It’s helped our family so much. It’s one of the first things we consider with illness or injury. However, I don’t take the advertised wide spectrum remedies. (Except for a product called Rescue Remedy.)
Wide-spectrum remedies aren’t necessarily bad. But well-selected single remedies will probably work better. That’s what I take. And only as long as needed.
The advantage of wide spectrum remedies is that they’re made for a wide audience. So you can use them without visiting a professional homeopath. (However, long term, I believe you’ll get much better results working with a professional.)
Using Wide Spectrum Homeopathic Remedies
For someone new to homeopathy, it’s really difficult to pick the right remedy. Because there are thousands to choose from. So wide spectrum remedies have their appeal.
Because I’ve had wonderful homeopaths, I haven’t needed to use wide-spectrum remedies. However, I do know that they’re real remedies. If you take too many doses, your symptoms may intensify. For instance, if you have insomnia, the remedy could keep you awake. If you have pain, it might increase. Homeopaths call this “proving” a remedy.
How many doses is too many? This is highly individual. For me, three consecutive doses generally causes a proving. However, directions on wide spectrum remedies may call for daily dosing. With no end in sight.
Pain creams may also contain homeopathic remedies. These are often applied several times a day.
I’m not saying I’d never use a wide spectrum remedy. But here’s how I’d use it. I’d take one dose only. Then I’d wait to see what it did. If it relieved my symptoms I wouldn’t take another. Unless my symptoms returned. This may mean many doses are left in the bottle. But that’s okay. Since a combination remedy will probably cost less than $20. A professional homeopathic visit can cost several hundred dollars.
Does Carageenan Cause Inflammation?
Carageenan is an extract made from seaweed. Because it’s considered all natural, it’s often added to healthy packaged foods. This includes products labeled USDA-certified organic. (There’s a move to change this, but the ruling hasn’t been determined.)
Putting carageenan in food is highly controversial. It appears as if the jury is still out on the safety of this food additive. It’s known that so-called processed or “degraded” carageenan has potential health risks. It’s been shown to cause cancer in animals. This type of carageenan is not used in food.
It’s been assumed that food-grade carageenan is safe. However, some research casts doubt on that, according to holistic health expert Dr. Andrew Weil, MD.
I buy a lot of USDA-certified organic products. Some of them are packaged foods. But now I try to avoid carageenan, ever since I realized it may promote inflammation. I have chronic nerve inflammation. So I don’t want to consume something that feeds this condition. Excess inflammation is also considered the underlying cause of disease.
The Problem With Fake Honey
Honey is supposed to be really good for us. It contains beneficial enzymes and nutrients. Pure honey is also thought to help naturally boost our immunity. (That’s why it’s often used for the flu.)
But only if it’s real honey. Unfortunately, it’s believed that a lot of fake honey finds its way into grocery stores. Some of these products may contain lead, according to widely published reports. One article in Food Safety News noted that some honey sold in the United States may come from questionable sources.
Officials in Europe have found also found chemical sweeteners and other questionable ingredients in honey samples.
According to previously published articles, fake honey is imported from China. Sometimes it passes through India, which is why the European Union has banned honey imports. You can read more here about how to protect yourself from fake honey. If we could, we’d buy pure raw honey from a local source. But we don’t have one. So I order USDA-certified organic honey online.
For More Reading
Fake Honey Masquerading as Popular Brands
Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements