Last week our conversation on environmental toxins got a lot of responses and questions so Jonathan and I brewed another herbal tea and dug deeper into the topic of environmental toxins before moving on to environment stress, intangible stress and the wonderful world of adaptogenic herbs. Enjoy!
Tanner Martty: In my experience people have several blind spots when it comes to environmental toxins. Most people are aware that certain food and perhaps tap water contain toxins, but that’s only a small part of the picture.
Let’s start by defining what we mean by environmental toxins and stress and provide specific examples of how people are exposed to them on a daily basis
Jonathan Velazquez: I notice people don't really think about environmental toxins regarding things that they come in contact with every single day, especially chemicals in things like cleaning supplies, hygiene products, fabric softeners and laundry detergents. These are chemicals that are on our bodies and clothes all day.
Many cleaning products are extremely toxic with residues that stay on the surfaces and in the air. Our beds that we sleep on are loaded with fire retardant, chemicals to prevent mold and things like that. These heavily toxic chemicals are off-gassing all day.
Another huge hidden culprit are sales receipts. The paper used has chemical residues and especially BPA’s. The same plastic we’re trying to avoid from plastic bottles, and yet we’re handling these receipts every single day. Touching them, putting them in our pockets without really thinking about what we’re being exposed to.
Now, it’s important to understand that all toxins by definition are a type of “stress.” But there are forms of environmental stress that aren’t per say, toxic by definition. We can break them down into two categories. Tangible toxins (like pesticides and heavy metals) and Intangible stress (like emotional or psychological stress.)
TM: How do Tangible toxins affect our health and wellness? What’s happening at the cellular and then macro level? How is toxicity expressed symptomatically?
JV: They slow down and inflame the body which is going to cause all types of different issues metabolically. A micro-plastic or heavy metal can accumulate in the cell membrane, making it harder for these cells to do their job.
As a result, it’s going to require more energy to function, which creates more metabolic waste, causing even further inflammation. The problem is compounded because it’s very difficult to deal with the inflammatory aspects when the body is constantly getting more toxins coming in then it’s able to eliminate from the body.
That's really what we're looking at here. It starts at a cellular level where the cells aren’t functioning well, and if left unchecked the disruption goes to the macro-level causing organs to work at suboptimal levels. That’s when we get into disease states.
TM: What are some good ways to protect ourselves from environmental toxins?
JV: The best way to protect yourself is avoiding the toxins altogether whenever possible. This starts with having great filters to clean your home air and drinking water. Using the most natural cleaning products possible for bathing, washing clothes, and cleaning surfaces in your home & office.
What we eat and drink account for a considerable amount of excess that can accumulate in the body so there are a few factors to keep in mind. All of which will be the contributing factors as to how fast or slow this accumulation occurs based on your daily choices. The quality of your food is paramount, along with the way it is prepared, the time it is consumed, and the amount that is consumed. Above all of these is the true meditation of a proper chewing practice. It is not popular however because when your chewing correctly your pretty much silent the entire meal.
Today, in the world we live in you cannot escape toxic build up in the body so the best way to deal with this is proper daily & seasonal detoxification to get it out. For daily maintenance think about green foods for chlorophyll, and supplements like Dr Schulze Super Food Plus to give you the extra chlorophyll rich algae to help keep metabolic waste moving properly. The greater step you can take is doing deeper organ detoxification using Dr Schulze 5 – day detoxes or all together in a 30-day detox with fresh green juice! Quicksilver Scientific also has great specific formulas from the science of toxicology to help take it to another level.
TM: Let’s discuss the Intangible kinds of stress. Give us a few examples and tell us at the cellular level, how does this type of stress affect us metabolically?
JV: Dealing with Intangible stress is more important now than ever. Artificial light and Electromagnetic frequencies are two areas to be very mindful of. We’re exposed to artificial light everywhere now. Especially from the phones in our pockets. Screen time right before we go to sleep at night throws off our circadian rhythms and really messes with our natural sleep cycles, which is a huge part of managing stress and restorative body systems.
We’re also bombarded by electromagnetic frequencies from cell phones, computers microwaves and all forms of wireless communication, which has become even stronger with the advancement of 5G technology. This is an issue because humans are electromagnetic beings. Constant overexposure has the potential to disrupt our body’s natural communication frequencies and throw things out of balance.
Artificial light and electromagnetic frequencies cause the release of very high levels of cortisol and contribute to keeping your body in a constant low-level state of stress.
What are the symptoms of Intangible Stress?
Nervous system over-taxation is at a point now I feel everyone is having trouble sleeping and/or relaxing. So, insomnia is an indicator. Unnatural weight gain or water retention, indigestion, acid reflux, lowered immune function and overall mood issues may also be present.
TM: And, once again, what are some good ways to manage Intangible stress?
JV: First and foremost, the very best thing we can do for ourselves is to start some type of deep belly breathing practice. Qigong, mindful breathing, Wim Hoff or any practice that focuses on deep belly breathing to really instill relaxation and deep oxygenation of the body is one of the best ways to de-stress immediately.
Ideally, a 20-minute deep belly breathing meditation per day will do wonders for your stress levels.
To deal with artificial light, I've learned to do a quick 5-minute meditation throughout the day. I find a dark place (like a bathroom in the office or closet) shut off the lights, shut my eyes for 5 minutes and practice deep belly breathing. I close my eyes because our vision is the most stressed aspect of our senses. We are ALWAYS using it.
The eyes are overworked and that stresses out the rest of the nervous system. So just by Us closing the eyes for 5 minutes every 2 to 4 hours gives that sensory system a beautiful, quick recharge, like a mini sensory deprivation experience.
GROUNDING is a powerful way for the body to release static electricity. You do this by going barefoot on to any natural surface. We’re talking about the soil or the sand. The absolute best place to ground is at the shoreline where the ocean is crashing into the sand, or at a waterfall in the mountains. A beautiful negative ionization happens from the salt water meeting the sand, and the water splashing down on the rocks. But even if it's just the dirt outside of your house, it’s still very effective.
Essentially, you want to shuffle barefoot even if it's on a 2-foot soil patch outside your house for about 5 to 10 minutes. Ideally right when you wake up and an hour or right before you go to bed. Grounding releases all the day’s static electricity from your body and really helps your nervous system calm down.
Stretching, yoga and any type of restorative Yin practice opens the body and allows things to move freely like blood and lymphatic fluids.
Finally, it always helps to “go green.” Bringing salads, deep greens, green juices is one of the best things we can do to further relax the body. The alkaline minerals to bring down inflammation and just naturally create space in the body.
We should also talk about… ADAPTOGENS! Are you ready for some Black Belt level protection?
Adaptogens are some of the coolest herbs on the planet. They’re essentially herbs, twigs or roots that have their own “internal wisdom.” Adaptogens are herbs that once they’re in your body, they “decide” whether they need to upregulate something or down-regulate something depending on your body’s metabolic needs. In a nutshell, these herbs “adapt” on the fly.
And this is very fascinating because usually when we think about drugs and supplements, they usually function for a specific single directive. Example: Caffeine is a stimulant, opiates subdue pain, etc…
But when we talk about something like Astragalus. It's an amazing adaptogen for the immune system. Astragalus will help balance the immune system and strengthen it upwards if needed and if the immune system is overreacting, it can calm it down a little bit. So that's a great one for the immune system.
Another adaptogen to deal with stress is quintessential ginseng. Ginseng is great for the adrenals and the endocrine system So this is a great one for helping nourish one of the primary glands dealing with flight or flight response. It's in Dr. Schulze's Male Formula as well is in Dragon Herb’s Gecko Rockclimber.
Siberian ginseng is one of the very first adaptogens ever discovered when they coined the term back and Russia. Siberian ginseng which is really called Eleuthro. Siberian Ginseng is amazing for dealing with stress, particularly long term stress. It’s also in Dr. Schulze's Male Formula and Gecko Rockclimber, both of which we sell at the gym.
TM: This is just the tip of the iceberg about adaptogens. We’ll talk a lot more about them in our coming series of talks in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned!