The Environmental Working Group is one of the best Environmental Research and Advocacy non-profits out there, fighting for the right to a Toxin Free Environment.
Their website is chock full of consumer guides for:
- Toxin Free Body Care Products
- Toxin Free Cleaning Product
- Toxin Free Home Guide
- Toxin Free Cosmetics
- Pesticide Guide for buying fruits and vegetables
- Toxin Free Sunscreens
- The Best Water Filters
In Chinese Medicine causes of disease are divided into Internal Causes, External Causes, and Miscellaneous Causes. Internal Causes are how our emotions make us sick, External Causes are infectious disease, and Miscellaneous Causes are environmental poisons and toxins in our food, on our bodies, and in the substances we surround ourselves with.
Also included are errors in diet and lifestyle, such as overwork, overexercise, under-exercise, overeating, excessive sexual activity (this is not a moral judgement and varies from person to person depending on constitution) lack of healthy mental attitude and/or mental culture, eating out of sync with the seasons, weak constitution, animal bites, and accidents.
Internal Causes-–How We Make Ourselves Sick with Unprocessed or Repressed Emotional Material, what Chinese Medicine calls Affect Damage–damage causes by an excess of any of the emotions, sadness, anger, grief, worry, anxiety, etc. Here excess refers to the unskillful ways in which we unsuccessfully deal with the essential issues of being human, as well as the residue left from damage done as we grew, unskillful responses to traumatic events as an adult or as a child, and even just our basic personality type that can make us sick, if we are too anxious, too aggressive, too angry all the time, irritable, too sad, melancholy, too worried, worry wart, etc.
Throughout out history human being have somatisized our emotional stressors into disease. Its not a question of blame; its how our nervous system are hardwired. Especially common is somatisation into digestive disorder like IBS,
headache disorders, and skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema, even acne. What happens is our nervous systems are hard wired for the fight or flight response. When we have too much on our plate, when we have unconscious fears that are not at the surface, money troubles, work troubles, or just when we have no idea how to slow down and deep relax, and here i dont mean watching TV, but profound deep relaxation, these can all trigger the fight or flight response which then has very predictable effects on our body–such as excess adrenalin, insulin, higher blood pressure, poorer circulation. How this manifests is somewhat the luck of the draw genetically, but also connected to whether the emotion is fear, anger, grief, worry. The key to undoing this process is to begin observing. I find the best therapy for that is Mindfulness Meditation. But anything that slows you down and leads your to an awareness of what is going on in you body and mind, such as Tai Qi, Yoga, Church, Prayer, is helpful. Key point: the Body and Mind are not a continuim, actually they are one and the same, we don’t experience our emotions in our brain, we feelemotions in our muscles, guts, eyes, head, mouth, legs. For example, excessive fear can make you shake or tremble, your knees can go weak; the idea here is your body is mobilizing your energy to run. Anger can make your face, scalp shoulders and arms tighten, your eyes get red, blood pressure rises; this is to mobilize your resources to fight. Some folk, like Kapha types in Ayurveda, deal with conflict by withdrawing; this is the “freeze” element of the fight or flight response, like when rabbits or dear freeze before fleeing, in hope the predator will just go away. For us humans, though, the thing that is making us frightened doesn’t just go away; we have to deal with it to resolve it
External Causes–This is Infectious Disease–whether airborne, waterborne, or food-borne. This includes colds, flus, bronchitis, childhood infectious disease, food poisoning, dysentery, etc.
Miscellaneous Causes--This is more important than the term miscellaneous sounds.This also includes disease induced by errors in lifestyle and diet. In Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine both this includes ignoring nature–eating foods inappropriate for the season, e.g. Coconut Water or Ice Cream in Winter or the Rainy season; or, eating to excess, such as too much cold foods in Summer; in Ayurveda this includes a diet and lifestyle inappropriate to your Dosha or BodyMind type as well. In both Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda it includes eating food that are inappropriate to anybody–such as old food, frozen dinners, canned food, food without Prana or Qi is what non-fresh food is. The quality of the soil in farming, and the skill of the farmer also determines the quality of the Qi in your food; ditto flesh foods and dairy. Whatever grows has Qi, if it grows in bad soil or on a factory farm, less Qi, less Prana.
Also under this category are diseases caused by accidents, and diseases such as animal bites and the infections that come with them, such a Lyme’s from ticks, or malaria, from mosquitos.
This is the category, too, in which the issues that the Environmental Working Group addresses in their work–disease caused by poisons. Poisonous agents in the food, water, air, and environment, such as the toxins in perfumes, the overuse of toxic ant-bacterial cleaners and pesticides are a VERY serious cause of disease for human beings and animals, nay, for the whole planet.
From the disruptions to the endocrine systems caused by the chemicals in perfumes (anything in body care with the word PARFUM, or PERFUME, or FRAGRANCE on it is an artificial synthetic fragrance that contains Phtalates, that are a by product of the petroleum industry, and act as endocrine disrupters and are carcinogenic) to the side affects of pesticides and the hormones and other poisons in factory farmed dairy and flesh foods the EWG is doing something about it through research and education.
Check out their web site and see what you think. I really love their consumer guides. Maybe you will donate a little something to them, too?
copyright, eyton shalom, san diego ca, march 2014, all rights reserved