August 6, 2018

(working title)

Apologies in advance. I could not stop writing this week. The second article maybe should have been first. Make sure to read it. Fascinating stuff.

Stress, chemicals and the epigenome - What to do?

It is clear to me that stress will never leave us, so we have to learn to deal with it effectively. We need to be prepared to do battle when stress arises and then relax when it abates. We need to have a garden in our intestines that is bountiful and ready for the stress. We need to have support.

Equally important is the need to avoid chemicals. The world is littered with pollutants that have the ability to harm individuals. Some of us are at more risk than others based on our genome.

Here is a list of options for stress readiness and chemical avoidance for all mothers to be:


1) Practice daily gratitude, prayer and meditation. This is so important. Release the dysfunctional belief that you are the center of the universe. Every event that happens to us is part of our journey. How you respond to every event will dictate your happiness. Choice is key. Spend more time giving to others and watch the positive effects infuse your body.

2) Eat a whole foods diet that is predominantly plant based, organic and has little to no added refined flour or sugar. Avoid gluten, dairy and other trigger foods if you are immune sensitive to them. If you are really struggling, consider the specific carbohydrate diet which is well studied to decrease immune activation. Consider getting a blood test for food reactions if you need help targeting specific foods.

3) Practice the 4/7/8 relaxing breath daily. This induces an increase in the parasympathetic tone that reduces stress and in turn cortisol release. It is great to do before eating as the parasympathetic induction will help with digestion.

4) Consider adding prebiotic foods as fiber and probiotics to your diet. Feeding our good gut and oral bacteria may be one of the most important avenues to a healthy mental outcome. I cannot stress this point enough. I am testing the intestinal microbiomes of sick children frequently now. A depleted bacterially diverse flora is the norm and is correlated with increased stress and disease. If mom's have healthy microbiomes, we set our children up for success.

5) Develop a village of support around you but do not become a victim of circumstance. The village is there to help you stand back up, not to keep you up. Own your choices and all circumstances good and bad. Taking ownership of everything is the first step to overcoming any obstacle.

6) Exercise or physically work daily. Exercise is a natural stress reliever. The benefits of exercise are clearly anti inflammation, anti stress, and anti aging as recent data has shown us.

7) Make sure that you are getting 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep or more based on age. Following the rising and falling of the sun with your sleep patterns will help your body's natural genetic rhythms stay on target.

8) Believe in yourself and the healing properties that are inherent to your genes. A positive mindset is so beneficial for stress relief. Read The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton.

9) Practice random acts of physical kindness especially when you are stressed. Hug someone. (ask first, of course)That shift towards another's feelings is distressing. We are social and tribal creatures.

10) Choose to be happy!


1) Priority number one has to be that we familiarize ourselves with our environment. What factories, companies, water sources, air quality, chemical exposures are you at risk for? Do you live near a factory or farm? Are they spraying the fields with glyphosate?

2) I definitely recommend a high quality under sink mounted water filter for all household drinking water. Keeping your water clean is paramount. Too many recent stories of contaminated water in cities and rural areas. Take control of your water. Test your well for impurities.

3) Consider an air purifier if you have air quality concerns. I recommend having lots of large leaf indoor house plants to soak up air pollutants. Change your air handler filters every quarter year. Open your windows many times a year to move the indoor air out as indoor air can become filled with off gassed chemicals form carpeting, cooking and furniture. Avoid all air fresheners that are chemical based. No plug-ins or scented synthetic candles.

4) Eat organic produce where possible. Leafy greens and fruits tend to have the highest concentrations of pesticide.

5) Do not drink out of plastic and styrofoam containers. This is especially true when the beverage is hot. Avoid reheating in plastic or microwaving with plastic wrap on top. Switch your kids over to stainless steel containers.

6) Avoid non-stick coatings as they off gas toxic chemicals when heated to high temperatures. Cook in stainless steel, cast iron or copper cookware.

7) Cleaning agents should be simple. Vinegar and water or dilute bleach to wash kitchen countertops. Stop using all of the aerosol sprays that are loaded with chemicals that float to the floor all over the carpet, your kids toys and your world. An overly clean environment is associated with worse health long term.

8) You DO NOT need antibacterial anything. Let me say that again. YOU DO NOT NEED antibacterial anything. Plain and unscented soap is ideal while pregnant or young. Wash your hands the old school way.

9) Avoid lotions and creams that have scents, fragrances and chemicals. Many of the products that women and children use are not safe. Go to the Environmental Working Groups website for details see this PDF. Here is a link to a PDF for infant and children care products safety.

10) Keep cell phones away from little children and your own head for prolonged periods. Use a headset when talking for extended periods of time. This takes some serious parenting as it is much easier to let the child play on the phone (as a babysitter).

This is by no means a comprehensive list. My wife and I consider ourselves tree huggers that live a modern lifestyle. We go out of our way to minimize the risks of modern life while taking full advantage of the great things that modern society offers us.

Please spend a bit of time with my friends at the Environmental Working Group - They have done all of the heavy lifting regarding chemical avoidance understanding.


Dr. M

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