Friday, May 28, 2010

A Call To Action

This is a post I wrote for my other private blog, but decided I wanted to share it here too. The intention of this blog is to help people achieve physical, mental and spiritual health and the title of it is based on scripture (1 Corinthians 6:19). If you're a follower of this blog, you obviously care about your health and try to take good care of your body. But the way we take care of the earth directly impacts our health. That is why I wanted to share this with you.

I want to speak to the Christians out there - everyone who claims they are a follower of Jesus Christ and lives according to the Gospel. I want to talk to you about the environment.

There are several camps of Christians when it comes to this topic. Some think environmentalist is for the Hippies, and since we have moral differences with their movement, we dismiss the information they are giving us. We call the green movement “liberal, Hippy stuff” and feel like there is no place for it in our religious lives.

Other Christians think the destruction of the earth is imminent and since God is in control, nothing we do matters. By that same thinking, if we were diagnosed with a terminal illness and knew our death was imminent, would we just wildly abuse our bodies? I would hope that we wouldn’t, because our quality of life here on earth and in eternity depends on the way we choose to respect our bodies and God’s word.

How is the earth any different? Just as He gave us our bodies as a gift - as a temple that should be kept holy and clean - He gave us this earth as a gift. In Genesis 1:28 it says, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

And what instructions does God give those who rule over other living things? In Proverbs 8:15 we are told that rulers should be wise and just. Since you and I are responsible to taking care of this earth, we had better be making wise decisions. That is what God has asked us to do.

God gave us this earth as a gift to enjoy while we are here in this life, but He still owns it. Psalm 24 tells us that the earth is the Lord’s and we are just borrowing it. Who would ever want to intentionally disrespect something that belongs to God, which He gave us to cherish? We don’t do it to the other gifts He has given us – our children, our spouses, etc.

Right now there is a patch of garbage in the Pacific Ocean the size of the state of Texas. Our water supply is full of toxins like mercury and rocket fuel. We dump toxic waste into the oceans and eat contaminated fish. We treat animals with zero respect, like they are inanimate objects designed to make us profit and feed us as cheaply as possible. And as if it isn’t bad enough that we are destroying our own earth and everything that lives on it, we are now polluting the heavens with space trash. There are no limits to our filth.

I met my breaking point yesterday. I broke down after seeing the pictures of the Gulf Coast from the recent oil spill and hearing the reactions in the media. I could not control the tears and the pain. I cried out to God to forgive me for the role I have played in this.

Everyone wants to pass the buck and play the victim. The Democrats blame the Republicans, the Republicans blame the Democrats, the people blame the government, government blames big business, and big business blames a few workers…


WE are the problem. You and I and every single one of us who continues this lifestyle of waste and excess is the problem. Every time we consume this unnecessary pop culture trash that society tells us we need, we contribute to it, because the manufacture, packaging, distribution, marketing, sale and disposal of every single good we buy uses up fossil fuels, pollutes everything around us and eventually clutters our landfills. Every unnecessary shopping spree that serves no other purpose than to fill an empty void in our lives that we should instead fill with Jesus contributes to the problem. Every time our gluttony causes us to indulge in foods we don’t need, we are contributing to the problem. Every time we decide that our comfort is more important than preserving the gift God has given us, we sin. And God will make us accountable for this one day. We must repent and change our ways.

These things that make us so modern, like all of the technology, and the things that entertain us – we tend to only think of the moral implications, like the amount of time wasted doing them when we could be serving the Lord, or the way they allow sin to fill our minds and hearts, but there are also environmental impacts that are just as displeasing to the Lord.

I have been studying character qualities lately and what we as Christians tend to forget is that the bad decisions we make concerning the environment are just as important as the other moral decisions we make that chisel away at our character. Sin is sin is sin is sin in God's eyes.

God wants us to show contentment.

Is my happiness dependent on buying more things? Does that expensive gas, guzzling car bring me closer to God? Does that large home and all the energy it takes to maintain it glorify Him? Or do those things glorify man?

God wants us to be dependable.

Dependability is “fulfilling what I consented to do, even if it means unexpected sacrifice.” Am I willing to sacrifice my comfort so that God can depend on me to make wise decisions with the earth? Can my children depend on me to do my part in leaving them a healthy earth, where they can breathe clean air, and have a safe food supply and drinking water?

God wants us to be diligent.

Our lives should not be about instant gratification and convenience. Slothfulness is evil. We live in a single serve society where everything has to be easy, quick, and painless – and all of those items that help us reach that convenience are hurting this earth. Am I willing to make tough choices, sacrifice and work harder to help the environment?

God wants us to show endurance.

Endurance is the inward strength to withstand stress to accomplish God’s best. Am I willing to endure some hardship in order to turn around the mess we have gotten ourselves into?

God wants us to show generosity.

Generosity is “realizing that all I have belongs to God and using it for His purposes.” If we have excess, are we willing to give it to someone else so it doesn’t go to waste? Are we willing to let others have or borrow our things so they don’t have to continue to waste?

God wants us to be gentle.

Are we willing to stop supporting the abuse and mistreatment of the animals we consume?

God wants us to be grateful.

How can we be telling Him how grateful we are for this gift He has given us in one breath and then turn around and spit on it with our actions?

God wants us to show initiative.

People are waiting to be required to make change. Why does it take something like a tax credit to motivate us to make some effort?

God wants orderliness from us.

Can we take care of our things instead of letting them fall apart and end up cluttering a landfill?

God wants us to show patience.

Can we save up and wait to purchase something of quality instead of buying cheap things now that are bad for the earth and just end up broken?

God wants us to be resourceful.

Is having this season’s fashion important when you know you can’t wear it next year and it will end up being tossed? Does God really care how stylish your shoes are? How could your resources be used for His glory instead of the glory of man?

This list could go on and on….

God wants us to be Responsible.

God wants us to show Self Control.

God wants us to be Thrifty.

God wants us to be Virtuous.

God wants us to make Wise decisions.

But most importantly, God wants us to love. Matthew 22:39 tells us to “love thy neighbor as thy self.” It is one of the two commands that Jesus gave us. The way we treat the world around us is directly linked to the way we treat our neighbors and the way we treat God. If I'm one of those people who doesn’t care about how I am harming the environment because I won’t be around when the next generations have to clean up our mess, that speaks volumes about how much I obey Jesus' command and love my neighbors. If this world is all about me and my comfort, success, and pleasure at any cost, that clarifies where God lies in my list of priorities.

There are people who won’t do it for themselves. They won’t do it for others. They won’t even do it for their children. They don’t care about the animals. You can’t even get them to buy into it when they realize that it will save them money. If for no other reason people, do it for God. He does care!

Nonbelievers are watching us and our hypocrisy. What message are we sending them when we preach how important these qualities are and then we don’t personify them in our real lives? How can we ever expect our children to become men and women of character if we aren’t modeling good behavior? How will we ever witness effectively?

My life needs to change and I made a commitment to God last night to do something about it.  I have some big projects in mind to help my community that I will be sharing with you soon.  Please join me.  Once we know that what we are doing isn't pleasing to God, we cannot continue to do it.  We must repent and make changes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just For Fun

"Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Homemade Tea

Non-organic tea can be really dangerous.  Most of the popular non-organic teas that we drink here in America were treated with a number of chemical pesticides and fungicides prior to being harvested.  The leaves are rarely washed before they are dried, so essentially we are steeping a flavored toxin tea when all we wanted was a hot, healthy beverage.

On top of the chemicals, many brands, like Celestial Seasonings, add "natural flavorings" to their tea blends.  These flavorings, created in a laboratory, could mean just about anything and are far from natural.

Organic tea can be expensive, so one option is to grow and make your own tea.  It's actually very simple.

Here are some instructions for making mint tea.  I love mint tea and use to help with a stomach ache, because mint is nature's anti-nausea medicine.

Step One:  Cut your mint.  With mint it is best to harvest your leaves between 9 AM and 12 PM, because this is before the heat from the sun has had a chance to dissipate all of the oils in the leaves.

Step Two:  Remove the leaves from the stems and give them a really good rinsing.  Make sure to compost your stems.

Step Three:  Dry your leaves.  You can do this many different ways.  Some people like to hang their herbs upside down (stems and all) to dry outside, but this takes 2-3 weeks.  If you live in a warmer climate where the temperature will stay over 100 degrees for as long as it takes the leaves to dry, you can do this outside by placing your leaves on something like a window screen to dry.  I prefer to use a food dehydrator.  It takes very little time, uses little energy, and ensures that my leaves get completely dry and will not end up molding.

Step Four:  Once your leaves are dry and crispy, you can crush them.  Just make sure you don't make the flakes too small or you will have a lot of floaties in your tea.

Step Five:  Steep your tea.

Step Six:  Enjoy!

Make sure you store your dried herbs in an air-tight container.  Your herbs also retain better flavor if you wait to crush them before storing, so only crush what you need for one cup of tea at a time.  Always check your leaves for signs of molding before using them, and discard them if they are turning brown.  If you keep them in a dry, cool place away from sunlight, they should last for up to a year in storage.

If you aren't harvesting a large amount of herbs and you just want enough tea for one cup, you can skip the drying and just pull a few leaves from your plant.  Boil the leaves in some water and you will have delicious, healthy, organic tea.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Toxic Bodies: Follow-Up

I just wanted to share a few follow-up links that I have come across since writing my last post, Toxic Bodies

First, one commenter, Lembit, shared a link to an iPhone app called the Chemical Maze, that will list the preservatives and additives in your food and cosmetics.

Next, a Facebook friend of mine linked a NY Times Op-Ed today that related to the post.  You can read it here.  The article gave a stat that I was looking for when writing my post, but couldn't find.  Here it is:

“Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety,” the report says. It adds: “Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated.”
That's scary stuff.

Finally, that article linked some great resources for finding out about the chemicals in your environment.  The first is the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.  I mentioned it last year - it's a wonderful resource that I always use when researching new cosmetics I would like to try.

The other link is to, a site that ranks popular household items for children and pets based on their toxicity. 


Monday, May 3, 2010

Toxic Bodies

There are more chemicals in existance than I could ever count.  They are found in literally everything we use on a day-to-day basis.  But, the scary fact is that most of these chemicals have never been tested on human beings.  The companies that manufacture these items tell us that their products are safe for us in tiny amounts, but they have no proof to either support or oppose their claims.  They also can't tell us about potential long-term damages, because the products haven't been around long enough to know.

It seems like we hear studies coming out in the news every other day about recalls due to toxic chemicals or that suddenly a certain ingredient has been found to cause cancer or infertility.  Remember what happened with DDT?

The problem is that while we may think that a little bit of a chemical sprayed on our apple or a tiny amount of a toxin in our laundry detergent isn't going to hurt anything, we are forgetting that we are constantly absorbing these chemicals into our bodies in one way or another all day long - without a break.  What about the cumulative effects?

Think about your average day and look at just a small amount of your chemical exposure -

We wake up and brush our teeth in fluoride-filled water with chemical toothpastes and wash our faces with soaps full of parabens and sulfates.  We shower in a tub cleaned with bleach, using chemically treated water and rub more chemicals into our skin and scalp through washing, shampooing, shaving, and conditioning.  We then do our hair with more chemicals, inhale the fumes from hairspray, apply aluminum-filled deodorant, put on make-up, lotion ourselves with some more chemicals, spray ourselves and our lungs with some perfume and head to the kitchen for breakfast.

We then sip on our coffee (that is usually mixed with chemicals), made from tap water that is full of toxins and in a liner with paper that has been bleached.  If we drink decaf, it is usually made by taking the regular coffee bean and mixing it with a chemical solvent.  We cook our antibiotic-filled eggs on non-stick cookware or sprayed with a no-stick spray that puts more chemicals into our food.  The rest of our meal is a mixture of pesticides, herbicides, food dyes, additives, preservatives and whatever drugs were given to the animal we are consuming.  We often eat on plastic plates with plastic utensils and cups, which also put toxins into our meal.

After we are done, we wash our dishes with some more chemicals and we wipe the surfaces in the kitchen with toxic cleaners.  We may have some scented candles or fragrance plug-ins somewhere in the kitchen that we are also breathing in.

Time to head to work.  We step out of the house and onto our chemically treated lawns and driveways, buckle up into our cars full of plastic, and start breathing in the lovely fumes from all of the cars on the road.

Once at work, the smell of the industrial cleaners enters our noses and starts giving us a headache.  We go about our day, eating more toxic food and drinking more unhealthy drinks.  Throughout the day we wash our hands with more chemicals - we may even decide to coat our skin in antibacterial lotions

After work, we stop at the salon to get a quick manicure.  We breathe in more fumes while we coat our nails with chemicals.  Once they are dry, we head back to the car and decide to run through the drive-through for some dinner.  The food has all been stored in plastic, heated in plastic, and served in more plastic. 

Back at home, we decide to relax on our flame-retardant couch after dinner.  Our windows are shut, since the air-conditioning is on, so all of the fumes from the paint, fabric, carpet, plastic toys, mattresses, cleaners, lamps, candles, blinds, etc. are just circulating throughout the house.

Before bed we brush with our chemical cocktail one more time and wash our faces "clean" again.  We may take some medicine before we sleep for 8 hours on a chemically-treated pillow that was washed in detergent.
This doesn't even begin to describe our chemical exposure in a normal day.  Every new environment we enter, every surface we touch, everything we rub on our skin, every medicine we take, every food we eat - it all contains chemicals that our governmental agencies tell us are safe in small doses.  But what about the cumulative effect of all of this chemical exposure?

That may be fine for you as an adult, and you may be healthy as a horse, for now.  But what about a small child or even worse, a baby?  Not only are their little bodies less able to handle a toxic overload, which can impact their development and some theorize could be causing the increase in things like ADD, ADHD, Autism, food allergies, etc., but their environments seem to be even more toxic.

Most babies spend 24 hours a day in a chemical-filled diaper, with chemical filled creams on their skin, sucking plastic pacifiers, drinking out of plastic bottles, sucking on plastic toys, and eating from plastic spoons.  And whether you formula feed or breast feed, you are still exposing them to toxins, because most mother's milk that is tested contains high levels of chemicals and toxins, like Bisphenol A.

You may be thinking, well this is insane.  You're just an alarmist (and believe me, I'm used to being told that).  You're probably thinking that this is just the way our modern society is and if it wasn't safe, the government would be doing something about it, right?  Well, what can they do?  Our economy is based on the production and consumption of these things.  What would happen if they no longer exist?

Experts agree that something has to happen.  I recently watched a documentary called The Disappearing Male, which showed how fertility is on the rise.  The sperm count of the average man is decreasing significantly and even the size of the average male baby's testicles is decreasing.  This is due to the mother's exposure to plastics while the baby is in the womb and throughout childhood, which effect the endocrine system and reproductive growth.  This problem has been observed in animals, specifically a group of alligators in a polluted area of Florida.  You can watch the documentary here.

We tell pregnant women to limit their exposure to chemicals, because we know that these toxins can cause birth defects.  We tell them not to clean with chemical cleaners, breathe in paint fumes, eat fish that contain high levels of mercury, take certain medications, etc.  We know that it is dangerous for a fetus to be exposed to those toxins, but why would it be any different for an infant who is rolling around on a surface that was cleaned with bleach or playing in a house that is being painted?  Couldn't the fish with high levels of mercury be affecting a school-aged child that has a compromised immune system?  And what about adults - couldn't some of us be susceptible to damage too?

There just isn't enough testing done to know for sure.  Why risk it?

It's time for us to change our environments - to protect our children from the toxins we surround ourselves with daily.  Of course, we can't change all of our chemical exposure, but we can take steps to significantly decrease the amount.  It as simple as:

  • reading and learning about the ingredients in something before you use it
  • choosing organic foods
  • buying paraben and sulfate free cosmetics or seeing if we can do without them
  • slowly getting rid of the plastics in our homes and trying to purchase items made out of natural materials instead
  • choosing not to treat your lawn with chemicals
  • getting rid of all of your scented candles and plug-ins
  • switching to a free and clear detergent or making your own
  • installing a reverse osmosis system for your drinking water
  • buying unbleached paper products or switching to cloth instead
  • using glass bottles instead of plastic
  • using cloth bags instead of plastic ones when shopping
  • getting rid of your plastic food storage system and replacing it with glass
  • opening your windows to let fresh air in the house
  • buying more house plants to help filter the air
  • washing your hands with natural soaps instead of using hand sanitizer
  • limiting the amount of medicine you take and trying natural medicine instead
  • cleaning with vinegar and baking soda instead of harsh chemicals
  • making your own food from scratch instead of consuming processed items
  • cloth diapering/using mama cloth
  • using natural pesticides/herbicides in the garden
  • driving less
  • and so much more!  I haven't even scratched the surface!!
Just by doing one new thing or getting rid of one new thing each week, you can start to decrease the number of chemicals and toxins that you and your children are exposed to on a daily basis.  Remember that many of the popular chemicals that we use are fairly new and we may just now be starting to see the long-term effects of their usage.  Our children deserve the best chance at a healthy life that we can give them!