The Babbling Genius

 

 

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The following are all works of fiction. All names, characters, incidents, and places are either the product of the author's/authors' imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, business enterprises, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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Suitable for ages 13+
 

Food for Thought

 

Temptation abounds as your taste buds linger
be careful before you raise a finger
all good things are provided by the Lord
eat what’s permitted to stay on board
be careful of consuming too much fat
or you may suffer a heart attack
fruits and vegetables are the key
eat plenty to remain healthy
sugar and spice and everything nice
overindulgence has its price
berries are good for the brain
a lack may cause your mind to strain
whole grains and nuts each day
milk and cereal and be on your way
fish will help keep you lean
have twice a week with string beans
garlic and onions ward off disease
toss into your salad and set your mind at ease
yogurt keeps the digestive tract in line
eat daily and you’ll be fine
medicinal herbs maintain one’s health
caution of the risks before being stealth
eat healthy proportions and think twice
don’t be tempted by a junk food vice.
 

 

  By: Patrick Argiro ©




Timeline, The Perfect Machine!
 

“I am that I am”

These simple words may hold no meaning to the novice, but to the intellectual they may help unlock the ‘Holy Grail’ to existence itself. Since this statement came from the Supreme Being, I believe it has profound meaning. I actually will go on record to say that I believe that this is the greatest philosophical statement of all times. Perhaps you will pause momentarily and give careful consideration before reading on.

Have you had a chance to decipher its meaning? How about if I give you a hint? I can hear church bells ringing? Perhaps another hint is needed? When do church bells ring? If you stated every hour on the hour, that’s correct!

Let’s discuss the above statement together, shall we?

The first two words, “I am” refers to someone being in the present. It isn’t illustrative of something which has passed or will come to be in the future, but something which is in the present. Now the word ‘that’ simply connects the initial phrase “I am” to the latter “I am”. Now, please note that the latter part of the phrase “I am” is still in the present. Surely this must have significance. The only way that I believe it’s possible that one can be something which continues indefinitely, denotes eternal existence. With eternal existence comes the question of time. Now one may ask, how’s eternal existence possible?

With God all things are possible, but with men only a few. One may question, how can 1000 years be equal to a day, and a day equal to 1000 years. On the surface, this might seem like sheer nonsense, but being the mathematical genius that I am, I sought an answer to this mystifying statement. (I could swear that I heard someone laughing! Hey, give me a little bit of credit.) Then suddenly the answer hit me, right out of the blue. So I devised a mathematical equation. I took 1000 years and divided it by zero, giving me the sum of infinity. Then I took one day and divided it by zero, also resulting in the sum of infinity. Thus the two equations are found to be equal. Thus the statement “I am that I am” supports the fact that to whomever this statement makes reference to, doesn’t experience any lapse of time. Or in other words that person doesn’t age.

Perhaps we should now examine the notion of time.

What is time?

This proverbial question has eluded mankind since the beginning of time (some pun intended). Do you have the time, because I don’t? Really I don’t since I’m too busy working on this project and I’ve lost track of time. But speaking of time, you must have time; otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.

Are you following me? Did you say no? Well good, because it seems everyone else is (just kiddin’, ha, ha).

But seriously, what is time? Many, many years ago someone came up with the notion that since the earth rotates around the sun once every twenty-four hours; this should be equal to one day. But what if we never aged, would time still exist? After all, one would never cease to exist, so would time have any relevancy? Under these circumstances, would anyone really care which day of the week it was, or which year for that matter? Besides the fact that one ages, does time serve any other purpose? Well it certainly helps to maintain order in our daily lives. For instance, when someone is planning a trip they need to know the day and time of departure. Otherwise, they may miss their flight and find themselves vacationing at the airport instead. Even simple everyday tasks such as cooking, require us to know the length of time each dish requires. Otherwise, imagine placing five pieces of steak in the oven to cook, only to find five lumps of charcoal hours later. (Please note that no amount of dipping sauce will offset the burnt taste. Also a word of warning, you may not want to ask Babbid for his input, otherwise you may find that your guests may never return.)

I’m sure you can think of countless other examples in which we need to keep track of time. But this still begs the question of whether time actually exists, or if we’ve invented time for our personal needs and to maintain order?

Another question which draws my attention is it possible to freeze time like we’re able to freeze water? Imagine remaining at your current age forever? If this was possible, just think of all the women chasing after you for this little secret. Or imagine if you came up with the secret formula for eternal youth. Wow, you would be ever so famous! Speaking of freezing, and excuse my humor but have you ever wished someone’s tongue would instantly freeze, maybe just for a short while, giving your ears a much needed break? Yeah, I think you catch my drift!

Also, imagine traveling hundreds of years back into the past. One could experience firsthand how people lived centuries ago, their lifestyle, their customs, their homes, and clothing. But just think how odd one would feel sitting amongst men wearing tailored suits and women dressed in full length dresses while one simply wore jeans and a t-shirt. Oh—the piercing glares that individual would receive. It would probably make them want to crawl into a shell, off in some corner.

Or one could take a leap of faith and go forward a few years. One could see the new technologies of the future, or perhaps take a peek at the lotto numbers. Now wouldn’t that be grand—I mean the winnings! Oh yeah! But this brings another question to mind, if one was able to go into the future and change something, would that actually be the future? After all how can something be the future, if we’re able to change it?

Now, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with all of this. Well I’ll get to that in just awhile. But in the meantime I will illustrate perception of time through another example.

Consider two individuals running a race. For Person A time doesn’t elapse, but for Person B time elapses. Both Person A and Person B cross the finish line at the exact same time in hundredths of a second (but note that if the race was measured in millionths of a second, it still would have been a tie). Please keep in mind that relative to Person B ten seconds elapsed, but relative to Person A no time elapsed. So the big question is who really won the race?

But let’s move on to an important issue and examine our notion of time. To stop foods from spoiling we use refrigeration and freezing. Refrigeration has probably been the saving grace of modern society. At well below freezing (-273.15°C, known as absolute zero) particles stop moving. At these temperatures, something can be preserved for a long, long time. We also add preservatives to lengthen the shelf life of food products. But perhaps we should ask ourselves, is time the critical factor causing foods to spoil, or are other factors such as bacteria, and mold which brings about this change?

Another example which brings time under scrutiny is that after death, I heard a human body can be preserved in liquid nitrogen for a very long time, almost indefinitely. So in this example it appears that time may not be the critical factor as initially believed.

Let’s propose one can control external variables such as bacteria, viruses, limit the toxins in our food and water supply as we touched upon previously, could this lead one to living forever or at least much, much longer? As you may be aware certain diseases are brought upon us due to our eating habits, which in turn stress the body and may in turn contribute to aging. Just to mention two examples off the top of my head: eating too much sugar may lead to type 2 diabetes. Or if we don’t consume any vitamin C, humans after a short time will develop scurvy and die.

On a similar note there may be external variables which one may not even be aware of which contributes to aging? I also believe that everything in the universe has an effect on humans, even though its effect may not be readily seen.

Let me illustrate my point through an inanimate object. If someone could watch water flow over a mountain, he would notice that over thousands of years the water would carve into the rock. If the water flow slowed, it would take the water more time to carve into the rock, but if one was able to increase the water flow, it would carve into the rock earlier. Keep in mind that water is the universal solvent. One could also alter the carving effect water has on the rock by sealing the rock, thus delaying its carving effect considerably or entirely, depending on how often the rock is sealed. Amazingly, water under high pressure can cut right through granite. Also, another factor which you may or may not have realized is that water picks up a little bit of everything that it passes over. If you don’t believe me, just take note of the minerals found in water bottles purchased at the grocery store. (Also, I heard that once water runs over sand it becomes negatively charged? Perhaps we’ll leave the effects/benefits of something being negatively magnetically charged for another time.)

So relating this back to us, I believe that everything we eat, drink, breathe or come into contact with affects us, although we may not see this effect right away. We also may alter the effect something has on us by altering a variable or amount. For instance, we may prevent getting type 2 diabetes by making some changes, such as eating less sugar.

We may also increase the effect of something by manipulating a variable. For instance, if we use a magnifying glass on a hot sunny day, we can potentially burn paper, if we aim the glass at the right angle. Speaking of the sun, if one was to look directly at it during a solar eclipse, the individual could very possibly become permanently blind (Note: People have already become blind by looking directly at a solar eclipse with the naked eye.) But on a sunny day, one could look very briefly at the sun with no harmful side effects. Exposure to sunlight is healthy, but yet if one was to sit hours in the sun, it could cause dehydration and or severe sunburn. Once again, we note the effects of too much or too little of something.

Also, dramatic changes in temperature can have drastic effects. For example, a tire will deflate a significant amount if the temperature changed abruptly from 20°Cto -20°C. Water pipes in a house will burst at some point if there’s no heat for an extended period of time during a cold winter. A house’s footing is dug deep enough to offset frost; otherwise the house’s foundation would heave. But have we considered the effects of extreme heat and cold, and its possible effects on the human body? Do such extremes (ie. too hot or too cold) pose more stress, causing our bodies to age faster?

On the same note, what are the effects if humans consume too much salt or sugar or other food products? For example studies have shown that consuming too much sugar will lead to diabetes, bringing further complications. Also, many professionals warn us not to consume too much red meat. I was surprised to read that it takes over a week for humans to digest a steak. So imagine eating steak every single day and its effect over five years. Well all this talk about food is making me hungry. Perhaps we should take a break and continue our discussion later?

Okay, maybe we should hold on a while longer so I don’t lose my train of thought. I have this feeling that I might be onto something. Einstein’s ‘Theory of Relativity’ could play a pivotal role in the grand scheme of things. I will use all available theories and common knowledge obtained throughout history to form my own opinions on various topics, and hopefully I will stumble upon something that will enrich our daily lives. I will start by saying that in order to get to the finish line I will have to explore many variables which are explained through physics, chemistry or biology.

Perhaps it is only fitting that I begin with the key ingredient to life. Water is perhaps one of the only elements which is pivotal to all life forms. People, animals and plants require this compound on an ongoing basis. Scientists say that in order to find other life forms on other planets, they must have water.

‘The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.’ Just think back to a serious draught in which there was no rainfall for a month and remember how your lawn turned all yellow and dry. This is definitely not a good sign. They say a person can only go for a maximum of seven days without water before they kick the can. Even before this happens, severe damage or failure of internal organs occurs. So, water must be good for us. Let’s all rush to the taps and make a toast to our good health.

Hold on one second! I said ‘water must be good for us.’ Confused? Well, let me elaborate, so I can clarify my last point. Are you still following me? Good. Before doing so, you might want to let the glass of water sit on the countertop for at least one hour. (Time elapses to one hour later.) Now pick up the glass and take a good whiff. Have you been repelled by the nauseous odor? Some probably answered yes. What’s going on here? Water has no odor. Correct. Then what’s that smell. It could be chlorine, perhaps other chemicals in the water. But the water looked crystal clear. Exactly! To further illustrate this point, place an artist’s palette on a table and place random samples of sugar and salt in each of the compartments. Now have someone guess which one is which without tasting them. I hope you see my point now.

Does this mean we shouldn’t drink water anymore? No, but it’s time to take action. The first step is to find out how bad the situation really is. You may want to purchase a handheld TDS water tester (it measures the total dissolved solids in water). These water testers are relatively inexpensive, you can purchase certain handheld water testers for under fifty dollars US. It measures all the solids in the water, in parts per million (ppm.). Now I’m basing all assumptions that one has tap water, and not well water for the following. Depending on where you live, the solids in your water could be on average between roughly 100 to 300 ppm.. In some areas it could be lower or higher. Now the skeptics could argue that even 300 parts per million sounds like an insignificant amount. It does seem rather insignificant. But, let’s not jump to conclusions! The device only indicates parts per million, not what is actually present. It could be minerals that are good for you, or chemicals that are really bad for you like pesticides, chlorine or mercury. Some elements are so deadly that even a few parts per million, especially over time, may cause severe health issues.

Now officials tell us that they test the water and it’s safe to drink. They may be partially correct. But keep in mind that officials test the water at treatment plants where it then leaves through miles of steel pipes before entering your home. But is your life worth taking any unnecessary risk? After all you only live once, there are no second chances. There is also another side to this equation. Mamma mia, this thing is getting so complex. Maybe so, but keep in mind two things. Firstly, keep in mind that our body composition is about seventy percent water. Secondly, life itself is a complex set of interactions. It has been said that when certain officials randomly tested the tap water in certain homes they found gasoline? What’s going on here? Did someone get giddy and start pumping fuel through the water pipes? No, not exactly. What the heck happened, you may ask? The metal pipes underneath a roadway were probably badly corroded and gasoline must have seeped into the pipes. You may guess what this also means. Not only were these residents exposed to gasoline, they could have potentially been exposed to any other contaminants that managed to percolate inside of the water pipes. Am I forgetting something? I’m sorry I must have experienced a senior’s moment. In order for something to have entered the water pipes, they must have been really badly corroded. Rust was probably another culprit that may have been present.

Now it seems that this whole situation seems beyond hope, doesn’t it? Do I dare suggest that everyone start drinking freshly squeezed orange juice instead? You know I’m just kidding, right? It’s not that orange juice isn’t good for you, but I believe consuming too much could be problematic. But we’ll leave that topic for another day, shall we? Now let’s get back to the issue at hand. Luckily for today’s technology we can remedy this problem. By installing a reverse osmosis system underneath my kitchen sink, I can remove approximately 97% of most contaminants present in my tap water. Sounds great! Well it gets even better! I can use this water for all my needs. From making coffee to tea, ice cubes, heck I can even cook with this water. I’ll remember to change the filters at least once a year, or when there are more than 10 ppm. of solids in my water.

Sounds great, I’m now saved and it’s time to party. Not so fast, this is just the beginning. A good scientist investigates everything from every possible angle. I know what you’re probably thinking. I just said that I’ve removed about 97% of most contaminants found in my tap water. This leaves just one really small problem. A small problem you say. Well if it’s so small, let’s just look the other way and get on with our lives, shall we. When I said a small problem, I should have emphasized that it’s a quite deadly one. Sure the water is relatively safe, but what about the presence of pathogens. Bacteria and viruses are almost undetectable (I did warn you that it was a small problem). As far as I know, it takes an electronic microscope to even detect their presence. So I guess we’ll just throw in the towel and call it a day, or maybe not. What is the opposite of cold? Excuse me a minute while I turn on the air conditioning, it’s really stuffy inside. Okay—I just made that up. I like babbling a lot, as you can probably tell. But, it was intended to assist you. Heat is my final answer. Just out of curiosity, was that your final answer? Anyway, boiling your water for at least five minutes will eliminate this last threat (I’m assuming you’re close to sea level and not high up in the mountain. Water boils at lower temperatures, possibly requiring a pressure cooker, depending on the elevation.) Did you know that bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to heat? How’s this possible you say? They are developing a shell around themselves. Like some people, maybe they too are becoming nuts. (Excuse me a minute while I pause to contain my humor.)

If I want even purer water then I should purchase a water distillation system. Now this may sound a bit extreme, but I was told that some soft drink beverage companies have a double reverse osmosis system installed in their plants? They’re certainly not taking any chances, then why should I? Remember one only has to be exposed to viruses such as Hepatitis, just once, for a lifetime of misery.

So, now I have such pure water, I guess we’re all done here. Hold on a second, am I forgetting something? I know, I just said this is very pure drinking water, so what’s left? Well I still have to store this precious commodity. This next part can be equally important to the former. ‘Cleanliness is Godliness.’ What is one of the best items to store water? I’ll give you a hint; it’s actually been long considered to be a liquid. I know you probably think I’m putting you on, right? But, this is actually quite true. Still working on this riddle, maybe you need another hint? A diamond can cut right through this object. Give up? No. Then I’ll give you one last hint. A silver coating will reflect one’s image. Surely you must have figured it out by now. The answer is quite clear. Maybe you caught me in my little fib. The sentence previous to the last one was another hint. Okay you win. The answer is glass. Did you know that glass doesn’t react too readily with many liquids? Only years ago, it was used to store milk and orange juice. Since then you’ll find these items mostly in plastic containers. This probably wasn’t done for your benefit, but to facilitate easier handling and transportation. Pickles and hot peppers are still stored in glass containers. Now let’s get back to the topic at hand. I should store my water in a glass bottle and cover it with a glass cork and store it in a refrigerator. I would buy these products new, including a couple of drinking glasses and a glass funnel.

Now I should also purchase some 120 proof drinking alcohol. (The stronger the alcohol, the greater its effectiveness in killing germs.) The alcohol will help sanitize the bottle, glass cork, funnel and glasses, once I have thoroughly washed everything using borax. I should rinse thoroughly. Once my items have been sanitized, I’ll rinse well with the distilled water (I don’t want to get tipsy), and then I can pour my water in a bottle, then cork and keep refrigerated. I’ll never drink from this bottle, and I’ll never pour anything else but my distilled water inside. I will sanitize the bottle and cork once a month. (I will repeat the above procedure.) Now I will place the glasses and funnel in a sealed plastic container. For day 1 I will drink water as necessary from one of the glasses, and then at the end of the day clean and sanitize this glass. The other glass may be a backup, if I don’t have enough time to clean and sanitize glass 1. I’ll remember to always keep the container holding the glasses and funnel sealed with its lid. (I’ll make sure to wash and sanitize the plastic container as well.) I don’t want dust or pathogens entering my pristine water supply. Also, did you know that by drinking from your glass, it’s being contaminated by your own germs? That’s why I must wash (I use borax) and sanitize my glass at least once a day.

Many will agree that we should be drinking about 6-8 glasses (8oz.) of water per day. Now that I am on my way to good health, I propose a toast with my crystal clear water. “I toast everyone to their good health and many happy, prosperous years ahead.” Congrats to anyone taking this first courageous step to good health. But I hope you will continue to join me on this adventurous journey, as I explore many facets which will promote a healthier lifestyle. I hope this will be exciting and inspiring, as I explore the many different aspects of our everyday lives. Have a wonderful day and we’ll see you then!



Is the Cause the Cure?

You’re out for a stroll on a beautiful summer day, enjoying the pleasant weather and lovely scenery, suddenly, without any warning, you’re foot lands awkwardly on a rock, causing you to twist and sprain your right ankle. You’re in excruciating pain, barely able to place any weight on your leg. What happened? You’ve walked through this area many times before. Wouldn’t you’ve stumbled on this rock before? Surely this wasn’t some big conspiracy, now was it? Everything else in society seems to be some sort of conspiracy. Come on, really! Let’s examine the facts. Firstly, you were distracted. Your guard was lowered by the beautiful sunshine and breathtaking view. If you had been paying closer attention you would have noticed the rock, and in turn, stepped over or around it. This would have avoided the injury altogether. Now, you may ask where am I going with all of this? Well this is similar to people walking or driving while texting. This distraction could very well lead to a serious accident causing injury or even death. This of course is an obvious example.

Now let’s propose a less obvious scenario. Let’s propose a scenario in which a person neither smokes nor has any smokers in his family. Furthermore, let’s assume that this individual lives in a small community with little traffic and works from home as well. This person exercises, eats and drinks healthily, but frequently finds himself short of breath. The doctor runs a series of tests on him, and calls him into his office after a few days. The patient is astonished to hear that he has lung cancer. He’s even more perplexed, since there’s no history of cancer on either side of his family. So much for the theory of healthy living! He’s beating himself up on his terrible luck, and the fact that lately nothing seems to go right. Depression starts to set in, unsure of whether he’ll actually survive. Then, shortly thereafter, while he’s sitting on the couch watching TV a miracle occurs. A guest TV speaker on the news channel is explaining the effects of exposure to radon gas. The gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless. It cannot be detected, except by doing a specific test. Initially he’s skeptical, considering the slim odds of having such a horrible invader in his home. The doctor delivering the news seems even more perplexed. In many ways, a doctor is like a detective, examining many facts, including symptoms to come up with a prognosis. Being in such despair, he feels that he’s simply grasping at straws, trying to determine what led to his terrible fate. But soon enough sensibility sets in, and he decides to have the test done after learning more about the effects of exposure to this deadly gas.

The day arrives in late November, and the individual conducting the test shows up at his house. Of course, the home owner is still skeptical about radon gas being present. The individual conducting the test explains that the winter months give a more accurate reading of the levels of radon gas than summer months. His rationale is that during cold weather the windows are closed, so if there is a significant level of this carcinogen in the home, it will give a more accurate reading than during summer months when open windows allow in fresh air, skewing the results. He goes into the basement with his electronic radon meter to examine the air. Moments later, he listens attentively as the gentleman conducting the test returns upstairs. He explains that the levels of radon gas are well above the safe limit. Even though the ideal level is zero, The World Health Organization’s acceptable level is below 100 Bq/m3, or 2.7 pCi/L (Bq stands for becquerels and pCi stands for picocuries). The reading was more than double the safe level.

The home owner is in shock. Not only is he fighting for his life, but now he has to deal with the fact that his home is currently uninhabitable. He feels that had he been aware of this issue at the time of purchasing the home, things may have turned out much differently. This is certainly a case where knowledge is power. Furthermore, had he known that the owner’s husband had died of lung cancer, he may have thought twice before purchasing this house. Her husband was also a non-smoker, and lived a healthy lifestyle.

Radon gas is a radioactive gas which is released from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. This gas can break down further into radon daughters. It can be present in any home. And don’t think that just because your next door neighbor has had the test done, showing low levels of radon gas, that the level in your home will also be low. This gas seeps through basement floors; it can find an entry point through cracks in floors along foundation walls, around pipes in the floor, and basements with dirt floors. The gas is probably present at certain levels in all homes, but especially when the level is above the safe limit, and one is exposed to it over long periods of time that it poses a very serious health threat.

Are you starting to see a pattern?

If the radon gas had not been present, in all likelihood he would not have developed cancer either. Also, smoking and exposure to smog further compounds this problem (will have a greater chance of developing lung cancer). Did you know that it’s estimated that radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, with thousands of estimated casualties per year? Remember you breathe 24/7, so the quality of air makes a huge difference to your health. Studies have shown that certain HEPAs with activated carbon filters help remove some radon from the air in one’s home (more will be discussed on HEPAs a little further on).

There are a lot of unknowns today. Complicating matters even further is the effect of pollution on modern day society. For starters, the ozone layer has been adversely affected. It is a region of the earth’s atmosphere known as the stratosphere, which is about 20-30 kilometers from the earth’s surface, and used to absorb up to 99% of the ultraviolet rays from the sun. These rays aren’t visible, but don’t assume that just because you can’t see something that it can’t harm you. Have you ever noticed how outdoor posters have faded over time due to sunlight exposure? Now there’s a telltale sign. Unlike us, they don’t have the opportunity to step into the shade or take any other evasive action. There is a way of decreasing the risk associated with this peril, if you put in a little effort.

Most people don’t realize that changing one important variable could have very dire consequences. It’s not like the choice of wearing a different pair of shoes. Skin cancer has been rising over the last few decades, and now we have to be extra careful not to be in the sun for too long. Keep in mind that where there are gaping holes in the ozone layer, the amount of UV radiation hitting the earth will be much greater and therefore increase the risk of skin cancer. It’s probably a good idea to wear proper sunscreen (may have to be applied more than once per day) and sunglasses to lessen the impact, and not only during summer.

Did you know that sunburns can be worse during winter than during summer? When there’s snow on the ground, it reflects most of the light right back at you, plus the direct sunlight hitting you, now that’s a double whammy. Remember light colors reflect light and dark colors absorb it, but also keep in mind that mirrors and shiny objects also reflect light. This explains why you can see yourself in a mirror, which is a sheet of glass with a silver coating at the back. People have become snow-blinded during winter, and you may have noticed someone with a so called ‘healthy tan’ after returning from a weekend of skiing. Even on cloudy days the UV index can be quite high. Also, don’t assume that you’re safe inside your home either. Radiation can travel through glass, but there are films which can be placed on windows (clear and shaded) that considerably lower the amount of radiation entering your home and car.

If you’ve noticed a lot of moles on your face or body, it could be due to overexposure to sunlight, and you may want to see a dermatologist, just as a precaution. If possible, don’t go out at mid-day, but instead go out in early morning or late evening when the sun is not as strong. Keep in mind that radiation levels are higher on airplanes while in mid-flight. Remember, even though most people see the sun as warm and beautiful, and sure some sunlight is essential for everyone, the reality is that the sun is still a fiery mass, and every second millions of tons of hydrogen are converted to helium. Therefore, I suggest that we don’t get too cozy. Supposedly, the energy released from the fusing of the sun's hydrogen atoms in one day is far greater than all the nukes man has at his disposal! Thank God for the 98 million miles, or so, separating the sun from the earth. 

There are so many man-made chemicals in society that knowing their full effects may very well be impossible. Though by being prudent, I do believe that there are numerous steps we can take to mitigate the effects of this barrage of chemicals. I do believe in the old adage that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. Keep in mind that just like most people didn’t know how bad radon gas could actually be, who knows how many other things in our lives have an undesirable effect. I’ve noted a few steps just to get started. Keep in mind one thing, if we could all go back a few hundred years, with the same knowledge of today, but with a less polluted world, things might be very different.

Now friends, let me ask one important question. Do you take everything for granted? In this complex world we live in, compounded by a fast paced life-style, this may be just the case. Due to the numerous demands placed upon us, we often fall into a particular routine, day in and day out. We may continue to repeat our routine without ever realizing its effect upon us. How would I start reducing my exposure to this barrage of toxins? Here are a few examples.

If there were five things I could do right now to improve my lifestyle greatly, whether I was healthy or not, it would be the following:

1.   I would Install a water purification system (ie. reverse osmosis water), and drink this water only. We’re about 70% water, so I hope you can see its importance. I would use this water for making teas, coffee, etc.. I’ll change filters when the reading is above 10ppm.. Using a TDS (total dissolved solids) hand held water meter reader, I will test my water periodically. I will drink at least one eight ounce glass of water in the morning, one at night before going to sleep and one before and one after each meal. I will only drink from glass, or ceramic mugs, products which are more stable and won’t react like certain other products due to heat.

2.   I would install a HEPA air filtration system (HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate arrestance), along with the addition of certain plants (Boston Fern, Chinese Evergreen, Florist’s Mums, and other plants which filter pollutants) into my home which would help remove these toxins. Approximately one plant is required for each 100 sq. ft., depending on the size of the plant. Other plants may work well (I need to check with a garden center). Remember, different plants require different amounts of water and sunlight.

For best results, I would also attach a HEPA air filtration system to my furnace, and leave the fan running all day for optimal results. If the furnace fan is not running, the air inside my home isn’t circulating, and therefore not being filtered clean. Remember ‘dust' is the eternal enemy of mankind. Like a good soldier, I will have to put the enemy to rest inside my HEPA. There are also portable HEPAs for apartments or for single rooms. A certain size HEPA air cleaner is needed depending on the size of one’s home, or area to be filtered.

Besides the dust in the air, a house is off-gassing at all times. This is regardless of its age. Contents of one’s home aggravate this situation. These gases are called volatile organic compounds, or VOCS for short. They can include benzene, formaldehyde, (some companies have special VOC filters which help absorb formaldehyde, which is more difficult to trap with only activated carbon) and trichloroethylene, which are all toxic, and shown to adversely affect our health. Just like water testers, there are devices which test how much pollutants are in one’s home. Breathing unhealthy polluted air over a period of time can have severe health consequences. I heard a firefighter can breathe in more toxins fighting one severe blaze than a lifetime of smoking.  I would also bring a portable HEPA to work if I had my own office. There are even air cleaners used for vehicles to cut down on pollution from the exhaust of other vehicles, which is especially good in big congested cities and on heavily trafficked roads. HEPAs usually consist of three filters. The outside filter is a pre-filter which removes visible dust particles. The middle filter removes microscopic particles. The inner filter is the carbon paper filter. Note this carbon filter paper can usually be upgraded to a charcoal filter, which is much better. It consists of a canister filled with activated carbon, which will be a lot more effective. Remember, filters only work if changed regularly. I must keep in mind that regular cleaning is required for floors, furniture, beds, etc.. A HEPA will not remove dust which has already settled on floors, furniture, etc.. I would check my home for leaks. An air conditioning unit leaking will release Freon gas. This can be very bad for people with heart conditions, even with small leaks. I learned that it can cause irregular heartbeats and palpitations at high concentrations.

I would place all paint cans, especially open ones, other household chemicals (including cleaners), and gasoline in the garage or shed if the weather permits. These chemicals may adversely affect one’s health. I will use products which don’t adversely affect my health, such as vinegar and water (about one tablespoon per liter of water) for cleaning ceramic floors and ceramic walls (other examples will be given at a later date). The less toxic chemicals used, the better the air quality in my home. After doing all these things, I should notice a big change in air quality. The air should smell clean and crisp. Remember, by me just opening the window to let in a little fresh air, may not always work. Firstly, in major cities the outside air may be just as bad, if not worse, and secondly the weather may not permit it, and lastly the air will still be contaminated for the rest of the day. Furthermore, one more reason I’d consider a HEPA is that a lot of newer homes are sealed air-tight. This means that if the air quality inside a particular home is really bad, the HEPA will improve the air quality significantly.

3.   I would cut out most junk food and eat a diet composed of mostly fruits and  vegetables (organic if possible), berries, whole grains, nuts (which includes peanuts, almonds, pistachios, brazil nuts, pine nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts). It’s not only important to eat the right foods, but to store them properly. For example, I was told that nuts should be kept in a freezer, and flour should be kept refrigerated. Placing baking soda in my fridge will help remove refrigerator odors. (I need to remember to change the box monthly).

Some who believe that ‘food is medicine’, may have heard that sometimes a cocktail of medicine is more effective than one alone. Likewise a broad spectrum of foods ingested should give me the greatest health benefits. For example, I heard kale is good for detoxifying the liver, red bell peppers are good for the kidneys, and oats are good for the heart. Also, I should keep in mind that I have to follow a healthy diet on a regular basis, and by just eating healthily occasionally will not optimize my health. If I have such items listed above on hand, I’ll be more likely to eat them. There are many more examples, but these are too numerous and shall be discussed at another time. Of course, like others this may not be appropriate for me if I have certain food allergies. I was told that everyone should always check to see if they’re allergic to any specific food, especially if they’ve never tried something before, or at least one should try a very, very small quantity.

I will consume very little meat, if any. It is harder to digest and stays in our intestines for days. This increases the risk of adverse health issues, and certain meats have hormone injections, a further health risk. High consumption of red meat has been linked to a greater risk of cancer and kidney stones. Then there’s always the problem of whether meat is undercooked or overcooked. Undercooking could cause illness, and overcooking could cause cancer. I was shocked to learn that barbecued and burnt foods (whether toast, meat, eggs, or other foods) produce PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), which are linked to cancer. Also, people who eat too much meat may develop gout. Plus, how many times have you heard of contaminated meat being recalled over the years.

As for milk and dairy products, I would also keep these to a minimum. Milk may contain unwanted chemicals and bacteria. Boiling milk in a glass pot will kill most of these bacteria. I just can’t get over the fact that dairy farms look like assembly lines, with the cows idling all day in lines and pumped ‘for all the milk they’re worth’, no pun intended. This is disenchanting, plus the fact that it’s possible that trace amounts of chemicals used to clean all milking equipment and milk tanks may also find their way into milk. There are many substitutes for calcium such as almonds, kale, broccoli, etc..

I would consume eggs from free range chickens, consuming less than one per day. I would keep my intake of fish to a minimum, and not eat other aquatic life. With the amount of mercury found in fish along with other chemicals, the risks may outweigh the benefits. Chemicals get dumped into rivers, lakes, and oceans all the time, some intentionally, some accidentally, such as oil spills. Remember that mercury is quite deadly and accumulates in our body tissues. Keep in mind that tooth fillings no longer contain mercury. There are substitutes for omegas such as walnuts, and soy milk. Also, keep in mind that bigger fish have more mercury per pound than smaller fish. This is because the big fish eat the little fish, and with every meal it keeps on accumulating. This means that eating the same size serving of two different fish may have considerably different mercury levels. I would avoid eating certain aquatic life, such as shrimp, after learning that they clean the ocean floors, and are unable to excrete any toxins they ingest (in other words everything bad [toxic] they’ve eaten, I’ll end up eating).

I would drink green tea. Include some onion, garlic, radish, parsley, mint, basil, and rosemary (in plant form) in my salad. Keeping in mind that I only need some in my salad, less than one quarter onion, radish, garlic, and a few leaves of the remaining. I will take the following spices; cinnamon, cloves, ginger, oregano, sage, thyme, chili pepper, wormwood, turmeric, and black pepper, in small quantities, (less than one eighth of one teaspoon per day, and only one per day, for a cycle of ten days) all of which I’ve heard have some positive health benefits. If the previous are available in plant form than I would make this substitution. Again, if I’ve never had any of these products, I would try only one at a time, on any particular day, in a much, much smaller quantity.

I would use only natural products for my hair and body. A lot of products contain harmful chemicals, which if absorbed through our skin will end up in our bloodstream, adversely affecting our health once more. To compound this problem we breathe in some of these products, such as perfume. Have you ever entered a room in which the strong smell of someone’s perfume felt suffocating? This is a double whammy for them!

I’ll wash all my fruits, berries, and vegetables thoroughly, and not overcook or fry anything. The way food is prepared is equally important as to what is being prepared. I would bake my food, preferably in a glass casserole dish, after learning that using frying oil may also lead to cancer. Like motor oils exposed to extreme heat (used motor oil contains PCBs, which are highly toxic), similarly I believe all cooking oils will breakdown at high temperatures, bringing undesired consequences to our health. Also, I would use a conventional oven rather than a microwave.

I won’t eat moldy foods, and avoid adding sugar to foods and drinks such as tea. I would eat moderate amounts of everything, and avoid all processed foods, and bake my own bread, muffins, etc.. I’ll be careful with sauces and dressings with artificial flavors or colors, which are high in sugar, or any products with trans fats (these are bad fats). It was often thought that all fats were bad for us. Thank God that this myth has been exposed. Coconut and coconut oil which is high in saturated fat is actually good for us. I heard that Pacific regions who consume coconut oil regularly have lower rates of cardiovascular disease. I would eat the actual fruit, if possible, and not packaged coconut. This may contain added sugar and the preservative sulfite.

Moderation is a very important factor. For example, a deficiency of Vitamin C will lead to scurvy, but did you know that in very high doses it could lead to kidney stones? This is why I must be extremely cautious of not overdoing it with any food. Once again, I must remember that all products used on my body, hair, or rinses could find their way into my body and bloodstream, so I would convert to natural products or reduce these as much as possible. Any toxins in our bodies may impair certain bodily functions leading to further problems.

4.   I would exercise moderately each morning, including stretching and strengthening, and doing a few repetitions of each. I would always do stretching first (shoulder stretch, lower back stretch, calf stretch, neck stretch, and other stretches). I will not over-exercise; as this is just as worse as no exercise at all. I won’t sit down for long periods of time as this has an adverse effect on our spine and metabolism.

5.   In the morning before eating or drinking, I would do a mouth rinse with sea salt and water (at room temperature). Adding about one teaspoon per one eight ounce glass of water, and stir with a glass stir stick until fully dissolved. I will gurgle with it for a minute, rinse and repeat a few more times. I will repeat after each meal. I will floss at least once a day (using a non-waxed floss) and brush at least twice a day (I will rinse very well after brushing). Once or twice a week, I will ever so gently run a pointed toothpick between my teeth and gum line, to remove even more plaque (I will wipe off plaque after cleaning each tooth using a tissue).

Good dental care is an important part of overall health. Just like bacteria can stick to plaque and cause tooth decay, couldn’t bacteria or viruses also stick to plaque in our bloodstream, or any stones potentially existing in our kidneys, or other vital organs? Also, it’s probably better to have saliva which is slightly basic rather than acidic. Did you know that tumorous organs are acidic?

Hopefully you can see why I need to make certain changes to my lifestyle and my environment to help prevent unwanted illness and live a healthier life. More will be discussed on the above topics at a future date, so please stay tuned.