Conscious Living is extremely important for a healthy lifestyle. Whether you’re perusing the offerings at the farmers’ market or navigating the aisles of your local grocery store, organic foods likely cross your mind. According to Statista, U.S. shoppers purchase an astounding $43 billion in organic foods each year, and 44 percent of Americans incorporate at least some organic foods into their diets.
Clearly, there is growing a Conscious Living about wanting to avoid genetically engineered or irradiated foods, and instead seeking out products that have been certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as organic. Thus, Conscious living is important. Yet while the organic food movement has taken the U.S. by storm, there appears to be less interest in the chemicals and substances absorbed by our bodies through medical supplies and health products.
As a consumer and a wheeler, knowledge is power. When you have the facts, you can make informed decisions about Conscious Living which medical supplies and health products you want to use and encourage conscious living. Here’s the rundown on new ways to think about laxatives, feminine hygiene products, ointments, respiratory care, and catheters.
The Scoop on Laxatives
Laxatives and stool softeners can contain ingredients with short- and long-term drawbacks. The mineral oil in lubricant laxatives, for example, can rob your body of fat-soluble vitamins and can prevent medications from being absorbed. Docusate sodium, the ingredient in many over-the-counter stool softeners, can cause allergic reactions, throat irritation, and be bloating. Over-the-counter laxatives typically rely on hydrating agents that draw fluids from tissues into the intestine and can lead to dehydration. A different class of laxatives stimulates the intestinal lining, causing the stool to move more quickly but risking cramping and diarrhea.
Yet the primary concern about Conscious Living and laxatives is that it’s easy to grow dependent on them. Laxative dependence can cause a host of unwanted side effects and conditions, including muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, digestive diseases, and deficiencies in minerals that impact organ function. In addition, relying on laxatives robs the body of its ability to move bowels on its own, leading to a vicious cycle of laxative use.
Alternatively, there are a number of ways to incrementally improve bowel health. Adopting these practices can reduce or eliminate the need for laxatives.
- Eat more fiber: Fiber bulks up stools and increases their water content, helping them to zip through the colon. However, Americans eat an average of 15 grams of fiber per day, a fraction of the 38 grams recommended for men and 25 grams recommended for women. Chia seeds, berries, legumes, flaxseeds, and leafy greens are great ways to up your fiber intake. Gradually increasing consumption of high fiber foods will move you closer to the target without the unpleasant side effects – bloating and cramping – that often accompany sudden fiber increases.
- Eat healthy fats: Avocado, nut and seed butter, olive oil, and salmon are some examples of healthy fats that can work to stimulate the small intestine and lubricate the colon.
- Drink more water: Most manufactured stool softeners and laxatives contain agents designed to draw water from the body’s tissues into the intestine. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water each day is a natural way of ensuring that your large intestine has the fluid it needs to keep things flowing smoothly.
- Try probiotics: When it comes to gut health, bacteria are your friends. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that can help digestion, and can increase the frequency and consistency of bowel movements. Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and plain yogurt are all probiotic foods.
- Movement helps: Whether you’re chair dancing, moving through the water, playing sports, or doing yoga, you’re helping prevent constipation and keep things moving.
Then you want your pearly whites to shine, you reach for your toothpaste – and the myriad chemicals it contains. Toothpaste often contains fluoride, and many types of toothpaste include triclosan, sodium dodecyl sulfate, xylitol, and sodium monofluorophosphate – a mouthful of chemicals that you can live without.
If you want to move away from chemicals and toward a more natural smile, be on the lookout for products that are glycerin-free. Glycerin is commonly used in toothpaste as a protective barrier to prevent staining, but that barrier also prevents tooth enamel from re-mineralizing. The result? Cavities or sensitive teeth. Similarly, foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulfate are to be avoided, as they can contribute to the incidence of canker sores.
If you want to go natural, try Redmond Earth Paste or Dr. Bronner’s All-One Toothpaste. But there are also toothpaste-free options to keep your teeth healthy and your breath fresh. Partially dissolve sea salt in water dip your toothbrush into the cup, or make a paste out of baking soda. Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties and can be swished around in the mouth for 15 minutes, or added to baking soda or essential oils.
DEHP– A Known Conscious Living Carcinogen Used in Catheters
Catheters come in contact with some of your most delicate internal membranes, yet most contain DEHP (Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate), a plastic softener that makes PVC pipe more flexible. A known carcinogen, DEHP can also lead to male reproductive toxicity.
Cure Medical, founded by a male quadriplegic who wanted to raise funds to find a cure for spinal cord injuries, was committed to ensuring that the company’s catheters were harm-free. In other words, Cure Medical’s catheters are made by us, for us!
Cure Medical CEO John Anderson explains, “The use of DEHP in catheters creates a number of health risks, including patient exposure to hazardous chemicals, which leaches from vinyl medical devices.”
Anderson said that, when there are options available to create intermittent catheters that work just as well as those made with standard chemicals, there’s really just no reason to use these chemicals if you can avoid it. “Cure Medical believes it’s the right thing to do, so we made the decision to go without DEHP in our products,” Anderson said.
Cure Medical offers free samples to help educate community members about their catheter options. Many people like Kristina Rhoades are now loyal fans.
“Although I’ve used them for over 30 years, I never thought to question what was in my catheters. I’m a big advocate for natural products, and It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that the catheters I had been using since I was a baby were made with several chemicals that have been found to be harmful – chemicals that I had already been working to eliminate from my family’s life for years. Frankly, I was shocked. But, with Cure, I can rest assured that I’m using the products that I feel are best for my body.”
Rub in In
If the ointment in your medicine cabinet contains chemicals you can’t pronounce, you might want to circle back to nature and replace those manufactured creams with something more organic. Your burns, cuts, and wounds will thank you.
- Manuka honey: Made from the tea tree bush, manuka honey is native to New Zealand and has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Use it as you would antibiotic cream, and then apply a Band-Aid.
- Calendula: A salve or oil from the marigold plant, calendula’s antioxidants help boost circulation, which in turn assists in healing wounds. Use the diluted oil to wash out the wound, and then apply the salve and a Band-Aid.
- Tea Tree oil: An essential oil diluted in topical applications, tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Apply it to bruises and bumps to promote healing, or use it prophylactically to prevent fungal infections. A word to the wise: make sure to dilute tea tree oil and avoid using it on mucous membranes.
- Silver Oxide: Silver has antibacterial properties, so it helps prevent infection and accelerates the healing process for burns, cuts, rashes, and scrapes. There’s no need to melt down your jewelry; you can buy colloidal silver cream or salve online.
- Aloe: Aloe vera, a succulent plant, produces a gel that contains glycoproteins that reduce pain and inflammation, as well as polysaccharides that produce a soothing sensation. Research has confirmed that aloe heals burns more quickly than medically prescribed silver sulfadiazine and that its anti-inflammatory effects outpace hydrocortisone cream.
Respiratory care is a significant issue for those with higher spinal cord injuries or who otherwise have an impaired diaphragm or have difficulty coughing. Research has found that many over-the-counter cough medicines have ineffective ingredients. They also contain dextromethorphan, which can have serious side effects, including some that are quite severe. The less serious side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Restlessness or drowsiness
More serious side effects signal the need for emergency medical attention:
- Difficulty breathing or respiratory depression
- Double vision or hallucinations
- Hypotension or hypertension
- Allergic reactions, like a rash or vomiting
Because mucous build-up in your chest can be life-threatening, it’s critical to loosen and expel the mucus. Here are some home remedies that might help:
- Increase moisture: Use a humidifier in your home, bedroom, and office, and limit time outside when humidity is low.
- Increase fluids: If the water’s not your fave, opt for natural teas and soups.
- DIY cough syrup: When mixed with lemon and coconut oil, honey is the perfect base for a homemade cough syrup. A shot of whiskey can also do the trick. Try Deborah Davis’ go-to drink when a cold comes on – a hot toddy in the old Irish tradition.
- Gargling: Gargling with warm salt water can help loosen up phlegm.
- A squirt of lemon: Add lemon to tea, water, or your favorite savory dish.
- A taste of turmeric: A member of the ginger family, turmeric is a “be well” spice that has antiseptic properties that tackle phlegm-producing bacteria. Turmeric has the added benefit of boosting the immune system and preventing urinary tract infections. If you don’t care to season your foods with the spice, take a caplet a day to keep the mucus away.
- Chicken soup: Add ginger and garlic to your favorite chicken soup recipe. Enjoy the delicious broth while boosting your fluid intake and taking advantage of the medicinal properties of ginger and garlic.
There’s no doubt that many women see tampons as a godsend. In fact, the average menstruating woman uses more than 11,000 tampons during her lifetime. Tampons have come a long way since ancient civilizations used wool, grass, and ferns to absorb menstrual flow, but today’s products are seemingly more toxic than those natural materials.
Conscious Living Consumers first questioned tampons in the 1970s, when super-absorbent products were linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome, a staph infection that can lead to organ failure and death. While the synthetic fibers that fueled TSS are no longer used, today’s tampons are made from a combination of cotton and rayon, which are also problematic. Cotton is often genetically modified and accounts for a tenth of all pesticide use. Rayon is a byproduct of the carcinogen dioxin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers a tampon’s trace amounts of dioxin to be safe, there is a lack of research on the impact of cumulative dioxin exposure over a woman’s reproductive life.
Despite calls for greater transparency, manufacturers aren’t required to disclose materials and chemicals contained in feminine hygiene products. Conscious Living Independent studies have found that sanitary pads contain styrene, chloromethane, and chloroform, chemicals that are known to have neurological and other deleterious effects.
Organic menstrual cups, which cover the cervix and collect menstrual flow, have been gaining popularity as an alternative to tampons and pads. Conscious Living Cups hold about an ounce and should be emptied, rinsed, and reinserted throughout the day. While individual women find different cups comfortable, many opt for Keeper Cups or Diva Cups. Keela Cups, designed with a string of disabled women with reach issues, are raising money for production via a Kickstarter campaign.
For those who aren’t able or don’t wish to use menstrual cups, sea sponges and reusable cloth pads are viable alternatives to traditional tampons and pads.
We hope these solutions and awareness helps you to live your best PUSHLiving Lifestyle!
If you have any questions or suggestions, we love to hear from you. Contactus@pushliving.com