The Gratitude List 2018

There is so much chat about gratitude, especially this time of year, this time of looking inward and looking forward to the coming year. If you have spent any time pondering what you are grateful for in your life, you know that once you begin, the list is never ending! My personal list of blessings includes my family, both people & animals. I am lucky enough to spend a lot of time with my father being the only child who ventured out into the world then came back home.

With The Gratitude List from Pure.Better.Cleaner, I share my key lessons & gifts of the past year.  I feel that these people, products and organizations are so special that it is important to share them with you.

It is my hope that you will also benefit from one or more of them in the year to come!

  1. PinchofYumPinch of Yum — Do you know those foodies who are Pinch of Yum?  Well, I am a big fan of Lindsay & Bjork Ostrom (+ team & family :). Lindsay began blogging while teaching 4th grade because she loves cooking and writing about it.  In not so very much time, the blog became what they both do. I like them for a lot of reasons.  They are fellow Minnesotans, dog lovers, foodies and a former teacher. I also love that they help others blog. With clear instructions and a straight forward method, they outline a road map that will take you to the desired destination — a successful blog — all the while reminding one that each of us travel along our own road. The gift I received from them is the certainty that I can grow a blog that will help our planet and be my way of life.  Thank you, Pinch of Yum!!
  2. Gene@Hy.VeeLakevilleLife’s Pure Balance – I am lucky enough to call Gene Wood, Owner & CEO of Life’s Pure Balance a mentor and business partner.  With a background in chemical engineering, Gene created his signature product — Fruit & Vegetable Wash — which cleans the waxes and pesticides off your produce making it safe to eat and also delicious. Gene has been generous with his time and ideas.  He saw potential in me when it was just a shy whisper in my own ear.  The gift I received from Gene is watching and learning from his journey of creating a great, useful product to growing it to being sold all across the state of Minnesota.  Thank you, Gene Wood!!
  3. BNI.jpgFireside Chapter, BNI – Have you heard of the business networking organization, BNI?  Business Networking International was begun by Ivan Meisner in California and has grown globally. Minnesota celebrates the BNI philosophy — the benefit of business professionals networking in chapters focusing on relationship first, education next, with the intent of growing one’s business.  For solopreneurs like myself, Fireside gives me a powerful group of resources both for growing my brand and for my expanding network. Fireside is exceptional offering educational and networking groups beyond the weekly chapter meetings.  The gifts I have received from Fireside — in addition to business growth — include marketing mentoring, business strategy & presentation skills.  Thank you, Fireside BNI!!
  4. GoldenCircleSinekSimon Sinek –  True Confessions — In search of the latest knowledge about Parkinson’s disease and other brain research wanting to help my father to be as healthy as possible, I binge TED Talks. Perhaps you have seen one of  Sinek’s TED Talks, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” or “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe”. Sinek’s Golden Circle took me to the core of why I was inspired to create Pure.Better.Cleaner.  My Why is that I have reached a plateau from which I can see clearly that healing ourselves and our Earth is absolutely possible.  We have all that we need. My role is to inspire from a place of certainty that healing is possible, that it can and will happen. The gift I received from Simon Sinek is clarity of purpose for the next adventure of my life and for Pure.Better.Cleaner. Thank you, Simon Sinek!!
  5. EWGEWG.org – Environmental Working Group has been advocating for all things healthier for over 20 years.  The resources they provide on product ingredients, ongoing environmental issues, and civic action are solidly reliable.  I use EWG’s National Tap Water Database when I help a new client learn about what is in their drinking water, because their database provides complete information on contaminants and the latest research on what is, in fact, safe for us.  Environmental Working Group’s National Tap Water Database was recently updated and is an indispensable tool for educating people on the quality of the water they are drinking.  Thank you, EWG!!
  6. DrTerryWahlsDr. Terry Wahls – Terry Wahls beat MS. You heard that right.  Terry was diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in 2000.  Continuing to decline while receiving conventional medical treatments, Dr. Terry Wahls began the research project of a lifetime — her own lifetime.  Dr. Wahls created The Wahls Protocol, a diet and nutrition protocol that not only stopped the progression of the disease but allowed her to heal, to return to the life she had before multiple sclerosis.  She began her research focusing on supplements to support the brain which evolved to the include best foods and vitamins for our brains. Her progressive multiple sclerosis in remission, Dr. Wahls now conducts ongoing clinical trials perfecting her protocol of nutrition and supplementation for those afflicted with multiple sclerosis. Everyone with a brain can benefit from the power of a nutritious diet. The gift my family and I received from Dr. Terry Wahls is a proven method to support our father who is dealing with Parkinson’s disease.  Thank you, Dr. Terry Wahls!!

May 2019 is your very best year yet!

Be well 🙂

Annette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Family Walk In Muir Woods

Four years ago, on a trip to San Francisco to meet my new nephew, we visited Muir Woods. It was one of the most peaceful afternoons of my entire life. I don’t know very much about John Muir, but I know enough to be tremendously grateful for him and his advocacy.

 

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In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.  – John Muir

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As we walked deeper into the woods, silence became more silent.  So few places offer stillness in our time.

 

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The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. – John Muir

 

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Trees higher than I could see.  Surrounded and protected.

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Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and to pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. – John Muir

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It can be hard job being eights weeks old 🙂

 

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When California was wild, it was the floweriest corner of the continent.  – John Muir

 

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This place is precious.

Be well 🙂

Annette

Muir Woods National Monument

The Next Choice

Here we are.  Wildfires consumed 9.7 million acres in the United States in 2017.  As I write this, thousands of acres are on fire in California, hundreds of homes have been burned to the ground, an entire town — people, animals, buildings & homes — is gone.  It’s just gone. Beyond the 76 lives lost in Paradise, California, first responders are looking for more than 1,200 people who are unaccounted for. Thousands of animals and people have been evacuated. Most of the state is under air quality advisories. My four year old nephew who lives in San Francisco, has not played outside for the past week because the air is too smoky.  

It will probably not come as a surprise to many, but the number of acres burned in the United States in 2017 came close to breaking a record. The numbers are preliminary and could change over the next few weeks as the data is finalized but the acres burned in the 50 states, 9,781,062, was the second highest since reliable records have been kept. That is 49 percent higher than the average over the last 10 years.

Wildfire Today, 10 January, 2018

I lived in Flagstaff, Arizona for three years, and during that time there were two wildfires in Oak Creek Canyon and many prescribed burns in the region. Oak Creek Canyon is a river gorge between Flagstaff & Sedona, Arizona. It is a stunning, steep canyon considered a smaller cousin to the Grand Canyon. The smoke from wildfires can be pervasive causing lung congestion even indoors. Though prescribed burns are planned out, winds can change on a burn day.

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Smoke Drift – California Wildfires – 14 November, 2018 

Are we ready yet to make a shift? Have enough trees burned, enough people & animals died?  In the Camp Fire alone, more than 10,000 structures have been burned. How much will it cost to replace those buildings? How much does it cost to rebuild a town?

Oh, the insurance companies will pay to rebuild those homes, and the state will pay for this, and the federal government will pay for that.  Wait, we pay the state and the federal government. We pay the entire bill. Is that how you want to continue spending money?

What causes us to make the next big choice? What has to happen for you to choose a new path? When is the moment of change? What brings us to an epiphany? Are there specific steps needed to make a fundamental change for the better? Does this happen in just one moment? Or, has this change been calling for a long time?

Do we require hitting a brick wall or falling off the edge of a cliff before enough of us come to knowing? Does it require all of us?

What does making a fundamental change for the better require?

There are some who believe that we are now beyond the point where Earth’s climate will shift back.  There are some who believe the planet is now compensating permanently for the effects of global warming.  The Earth will be different from now on. Google “global warming”, and the search results read page after page of studies & articles concluding that humans are the main cause of climate change. Even if there is more to learn about the science of global warming, aren’t we beyond debating on principle and will take action?

Officially I do not have the education to make an informed pronouncement on this subject, but what I do know is that the earth can heal.  And, we can be a part of that healing.

If the root cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels which has produced an overabundance of carbon dioxide, then I know at least some things I can do to help. I pledge here that I will research this issue and share what I learn. I will help in that way too.

It is my hope that we choose this moment to be our epiphany. It is my hope that we choose to learn from these horrific fires and are inspired to make change. Let’s make this the last time we hold so much of the responsibility for such a catastrophic event..

Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park was destroyed by fire, August 2017.
The remains of the Sperry Chalet after it burned in the Sprague Fire, pictured on Sept. 1, 2017. Courtesy Glacier National Park

Can we make a few changes now, then a few more and a few more? Instead of cleaning up such a substantial mess, why don’t we direct our resources out ahead of the crisis, out in front of the fire or the hurricane? Wouldn’t that make more sense than planning to evacuate from the next crisis?Maybe it’s when something pierces your heart.  That is when the epiphany happens. 

I am ready. I am ready today. I am ready this minute.

Because I don’t want to hear again the story of a border collie who was left behind.  Ella protected the one house left on the block in Paradise, California. She waited on the steps of the only home left in the neighborhood that didn’t burn down. Her toes were burned, but for two days she waited — alone — for her family to return.

Maybe it’s when something pierces your heart.  That is when the epiphany happens. 

Living in Flagstaff, Arizona, I witnessed prescribed burns and wildfires which affected my breathing – congested lungs, irritated throat and coughing.  I now use a FreshAir Surround air purifier from Vollara.  I am so grateful to have found this technology as we in Minnesota dealt with smoke from the forest fires in Canada most of the summer of 2017.  To learn more about the Space Certified technologies used in the FreshAir Surround, click here.

Be well 🙂

Annette

Sources: Wildfire Today, USA Today

Take Care Of Yourself. Now.

Last month residents of Hastings, Minnesota could not drink their tap water because it was not safe to drink.  Residents were told to boil water for drinking, making ice, cooking and brushing teeth. E. coli was detected in a section of the public water system.

“Bring all water to a full, rolling boil, let it boil for one minute

antique burn burning close up
Photo by Fancycrave.com on Pexels.com

or longer, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in water.”  City of Hastings Water Advisory, 22 September, 2018

So in the best case scenario, a contaminant in your water supply is discovered right away, and you are notified. But what if a contaminant is not discovered right away?  And, what if when a contamination happens, those with that knowledge don’t act in your best interest? We all know examples of these situations. They have happened and could happen again.

So what can you do? The answer is obvious, simple and easy to accomplish. Take care of yourself. You hold the power in your own hands. Taking good care of yourself is possible even when public water supplies are poorly managed or when corporations do business with unsafe practices. Your well being is not dependent on others making choices from a short term perspective that serves just a few. Your well being is not dependent on others, period. I encourage you to take your power back.

Give yourself the best chance to be well so that when more people are ready to act, you will be in vibrant health and can be one of the leaders of an environmental wave. The answers and solutions we have now probably will not be the answers and solutions we have in the future. And, that is just fine.

If we do take the best care of ourselves now, we will be healthy and able to be a part of 20180107_101845-2the next movement of growth.  There are people “banking” plastic.  There are people cleaning up our oceans and rivers.  There are people developing methods to absorb carbon from our atmosphere.  There is incredible medical and nutritional research being done. The more we focus on these people and their missions, the more we are a part of their ongoing success. I encourage you to move out of being frozen in fear or focusing on the problems versus the solutions, what you do not want versus what you do.

So do it.  Do it now.  Do it for your family. Do it for your kids. Do it for your fur kids.

Do it for yourself.

Learn more here about the water I drink. My water is clean, alkaline and full of hydrogen — good for me and my family, and it tastes so good!

Be well 🙂

Sources: City of Hastings, Minnesota, PlasticBank.org, TheOceanCleanUp, The Nature Conservancy, Fast Company – Climeworks, Molecular Hydrogen Institute, FutureTechPodcast – Dominic D’Agostino, PhD

I Fast. And, I Love It.

Photo Credit, Ales Krevic Unsplash

I love to fast.

Now, to be clear, I eat every day. I am not someone who sips herbal tisanes or chews ice for days. I stop taking in calories about 9:00 o’clock in the evening. In the morning, I break my fast at midday rather than first thing. So simple. And, as it turns out, so good for us.

Here I am, someone who considers her entire family to be foodies sharing about fasting! I am someone who has bunches of recipes I want to try, or shops at three grocery stores to get the right ingredients. Here I am, fasting.

The immediate benefits are, at least for me, weight loss & detoxification.  Most toxins our bodies take in are stored in fat cells.  So, when I burn fat as I fast, those toxins are released from my body.  I haven’t always been careful about my diet. So, I imagine preservatives, pesticides and other things like “natural flavors” leaving my body as those fat cells are used for energy.

You may have heard of intermittent fasting as part of a ketogenic diet.  I tried eating “keto” for a short time last year.  It was exciting losing weight quickly eating a high fat diet.  My strategy had been to get into ketosis, have some success, then improve my food choices — wild caught salmon instead of bacon.  Then life happened.

For me now, the goal is the fast, not a strict ketogenic diet. Keto is a god send for people who have eaten a mostly processed, a highly carbohydrate, a mostly artificial diet for their entire lives.  It is a god send for people with many disease conditions like – autism and cancer. It turns out that fasting offers benefits other than what most of us think of at first glance such as weight loss.

For us to be in great health, we need to renew our bodies.  When we don’t eat, our body will use mechanisms such as antiphagy to renew cells. For more on antiphagy, read about Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology or Medicine, Biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi.

My current goal is to fast for 14 to 16 hours per day.  During my 8 to 10 hours of eating (my eating window), I am eating pretty much what I like (avoiding sugar for the most part), but that is the only requirement.  Another benefit of my intermittent fasting is that I can be less concerned over my food choices. It doesn’t always have to be a kale, romaine & avocado salad. Good news as I currently live in Minnesota. Cold salads are not appealing in January, trust me.

So for those who are wondering, “How the #*&!$ does she not eat for so many hours every day? Honestly, isn’t she dreaming about dreaming about eating the whole time?” Yeah, no.  Why?  Well, fat & fat.

I’ll explain 🙂

Fat is a better fuel for our bodies.  Fat gives us nutrients we can get from no other foods and gives four times the energy when compared to glucose (carbohydrates, sugar, grains, etc.). When I am using fat for fuel, I am good.  I am not craving other foods.  I am not craving anything.  My brain is getting the nutrition it needs. To switch my metabolism into ketosis, I do drink exogenous ketones.  In the keto world, to drink ketones or not to drink ketones is a hot topic. I find that drinking my ketones makes a daily fast easy.  I get the benefits of a shorter eating window. And, my brain is nourished.  Win. Win. Win.

I love that my life is simplified by not eating until half way through my day. It saves time.  It saves on groceries. I feel more clear headed and calmer when I am fasting.

But the greatest benefit is the plateau I walk on while I fast.  A lifestyle of intermittent fasting has revealed to me a discipline I never thought I could attain. Food and eating are not a distraction. I am whole onto myself.  I don’t need anything (aside from good water).

Be well 🙂

 

 

Is Your Drinking Water Safe To Drink?

“For years, people said that America has the cleanest drinking water in the world,” said William K. Reilly, the E.P.A. administrator under President George H. W. Bush. “That was true 20 years ago. But people don’t realize how many new chemicals have emerged and how much more pollution has occurred. If they did, we would see very different attitudes.”  When we turn on the faucet in the kitchen, water flows into the sink.  We use this water to wash dishes, mop the floor, clean the windows, but without knowing really just what is in the water, is it wise to take a drink?

Glass Mirroring Blue Water High Jumping Drops

It is a short list of contaminants that are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act. First passed in 1974, after tests discovered carcinogens, lead and dangerous bacteria in water from New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Boston and other cities, the Safe Drinking Water Act regulates just 91 contaminants in a world where more than 60,000 chemicals are used.  The Environmental Protection Agency has not added a single item to the list of regulated chemicals since 2000.  So those who are tasked with providing us with safe drinking water can and do, literally, follow the law and deliver water that can be harmful to our health.

Government and independent scientists continue to study chemicals in our water and have concluded there are many – hundreds – which can cause cancer and other diseases.  Even at small concentrations these contaminants are concerning.

It is a tricky thing to talk about how cities can be following federal law and still be providing water that may make people sick.  Improvements in water treatment are very much needed, but who pays for these improvements? Wouldn’t it be wiser for us to not pollute the air, the ground, or the water in the first place?

In a system where polluting is legal and thus profitable, where is the motivation to do things differently? It is a short-sighted model that allows companies, military contractors and manufacturers to reap profit and pass off the environmental clean up and future health consequences.  Don’t we all pay for such irresponsibility, whether it be the loss of our natural world or our quality of life?  Why do we still allow ourselves to be fooled by the lure of today’s gain compared to the future cost of cleaning up our mess?

So, how do we get our water clean?

Sources – New York TimesCenter For Disease Control

What Is The Problem With Chlorine?

CUGlassH20Chlorine has been hailed as the savior against cholera & various other water-borne diseases, and rightfully so.  The disinfectant qualities of chlorine have allowed whole cities to grow & prosper by providing disease-free tap water to homes and industry. So, what’s the problem with chlorine? The first continuous use of chlorine in the United States for disinfection took place in 1908 at Boonton Reservoir which served as the supply for Jersey City, New Jersey.  Early attempts at implementing water chlorination at a water treatment plant were made in 1893 in Hamburg, Germany, and in 1897 the town of Maidstone, England was the first to have its entire water supply treated with chlorine. Adding chlorine to our water kills or inactivates the microorganisms that cause diseases like typhoid, cholera, dysentery and giardiasis. A century ago this was progress.

In 2017 what new information do we have about using chlorine to disinfect our water?  Chlorine does keep municipal water clean of typhoid & cholera.  But now that we are not dying of those diseases, we do see other health effects from the use of chlorine as a disinfectant.

Chlorine destroys acidophilus, a probiotic which helps to maintain a balanced colon. A healthy immune system is dependent upon a healthy colon. People have allergic reactions to the chlorine in their drinking water.  Symptoms include skin rashes, headaches, gastrointestinal difficulties and even arthritis.

Chlorine reacts with organic materials in our sewer systems to create by-products.  As chlorine is a persistent chemical, so are the by-products.  The main disinfection by-products produced are trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs).  DBPs (disinfection by-products) are linked to reproductive issues & birth defects, heart disease and cancers.

Scientists have linked the pollution worldwide of rivers and oceans and the chlorination of swimming pools to increased incidents of melanoma. And, drinking chlorinated water is associated with increased risk of bladder and rectal cancers, due to our bodies storing waste products containing chlorine and its by-products. The US Council of Environmental Quality reports that the cancer risk to people who drink chlorinated water is 93% higher than those who drink water without chlorine.

It will take time to modernize our municipal systems.  There are better options such as ozonation to sterilize water.  But, to guarantee that the water is technically still safe to drink when it comes out of your tap, cities like Las Vegas who use ozonation still add chlorine to “protect” it on the journey to your house.

To protect yourself and your family, consider filtration for your drinking water at a minimum.  There are affordable and effective filters to tide us over until our city systems are redesigned and rebuilt.

Sources:  WikipediaChlorine Special ReportLas Vegas Valley Water DistrictThoughtco

Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com & MaxPixel.net