A New Age of Natural Health
“It was the worst of times, it was the best of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair …”
Although we know the setting for this narrative to be the French Revolution of the late 1700s, this description could easily describe what we see in Western Civilization today, particularly when the topic centers on natural health.
Nowhere is this dichotomous portrait more applicable than when it comes to our individual health.
The debates rage constantly, daily in our social media outlets with a seething rage and contemptuousness unmatched in any sports competition.
The topics have become controversial enough and emotions have risen to boiling points so high that we are wary of even mentioning them here.
Regardless, for clarity, here are a few that come to mind: tap water safety, vaccinations, prescription drugs, cancer treatment, home births vs. hospital births, and the use of fluoride in dental hygiene.
Our purpose in writing is not to win an argument.
Our purpose is to simply share our perspective with you, what’s worked for us when it comes to natural health, and how we arrived at the health decisions we have made for our lives.
We are mindful that health choices are personal ones, but it is our observation that, like many other areas of our lives, we have abrogated decision-making to the “experts”.
We’ve done so in health and education to be sure.
Not many of us will question the recommendations and methods employed made by either our physicians or are children’s teachers.
Instead of taking proactive steps to safeguard our health, we’ve become reactive.
For example, we don’t typically eat based on what our bodies need.
Instead, we eat what we want and when we want it.
And then, in many instances, at some point in the future, it’s off to the emergency room for our life-saving intervention.
This mindset, in our opinion, has become prevalent precisely because we know that life-saving medical advancements have progressed to the truly miraculous.
But should that be our health goal?
To simply get miraculously bailed-out at the end of our dissipative habits.
A good analogy would be to look at the insane driving practices of those around us.
It’s suicidal the way some drive.
Back when we were younger, airbags and seatbelt laws didn’t exist.
Perhaps the increased safety features and new driving laws focused on safety creates an unintended result that leaves drivers exhibiting riskier behavior.
Natural Health: We make no claim to ultimate health truth
What we say may resonate with you or perhaps not.
Alternatively, you may have found certain health solutions that work for you.
To those of you who fit this category, we simply say, “Keep doing what you’re doing.”
But for those of you who have no idea what to do or where to begin, our solutions and our recommendations may be the poultice for which you’ve been searching.
What’s important to know at the outset is that you do not need to know everything there is to know about good health.
But you need to know something.
Natural Health: The Indoor Pollution Problem
So the first area we like to start when it comes to making changes in your life for better health is actually to begin with the place where we spend most of our time.
The truth is we spend about 90% of our time indoors.
We tend to think that pollution is primarily an outdoors problem.
In fact, pollution is much worse indoors than it is outdoors.
One of the biggest culprits is found in the very products we use to clean our own home, our dishes, our clothing, and our very own bodies.
Here’s a short list of toxic ingredients and associated dangers that show-up in many household cleaners:
- Ammonia ===> fatal is swallowed; skin, lung, throat irritant; can cause blindness
- Butyl cellosolve ===> irritation and tissue damage from inhalation
- Formaldehyde ===> known carcinogen
- Hydrochloric acid ===> fatal is swallowed; concentrated fumes harmful
- Naphtha ===> depressed the central nervous system
- Perchloroethylene ===> damages liver, kidney, nervous system
- *Petroleum distillates ===> highly flammable; can damage lung tissue and nerve cells
- Phenols ===> extremely dangerous; suspected carcinogen
- Propylene glycol ===> ingestion can damage kidneys, lungs, heart, and nervous system
- Sodium hydroxide ===> highly caustic; contact can cause severe damage to eyes, skin, mouth and throat; can cause liver and kidney damage
- Sodium hypochlorite ===> contact can cause severe damage to the eyes, skin, mouth, and throat; can cause liver and kidney damage; causes more poisoning exposures than any household chemical
- Sodium lauryl sulfate ===> skin irritant
- Sulfuric acid ===> dangerous; can burn skin; exposure to concentrated fumes can be carcinogenic
- Trichloroethane ===> damages liver and kidney
*NOTE: Petroleum distillates are hydrocarbon solvents produced from crude oil
If you regularly use aerosols, air fresheners and room deodorizers, all-purpose cleaners, chlorine bleach, degreasers, dishwashing liquid, disinfectants, drain cleaner, floor and furniture polish, glass cleaner, laundry detergent, mold and mildew removers, oven cleaners, scouring cleansers, toilet cleaners, or tub/tile/sink cleaner, then you are being exposed to the toxic chemicals previously listed.
I suffered miserably from wheezing and asthma as a child. I concluded a few years ago after some research that the cause was either vaccine-related or the toxic cleaners my mother used in our home. For your further reference, here are two clinical articles on both asthma and wheezing respectively:
- Association of domestic exposure to volatile organic compounds with asthma in young children: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15333849
- Frequent use of chemical household products is associated with persistent wheezing in pre-school age children: http://thorax.bmj.com/content/60/1/45
What products did we use in our home?
Here is a list of products which I recall and which some of you may identify with as well: (if you click on the product, you will see its particular Material Data Safety Sheet)
- Mr. Clean Ammonia
- Purex Chlorine Bleach
- Comet Disinfectant Cleaner
- Lysol Spray
- Pledge Furniture Polish
- Formula 409 Cleaner
- Dove Cleansing Bars
- Future Acrylic Floor Finish
- Jubilee Kitchen Wax
- Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo
These are just some of the products I remember being used in our home.
In a way, I’m amazed that I can so easily recall them.
Certainly the companies who made and still make these products have done a superb job of branding and marketing them.
Additionally, they have convinced us that things that are clean have a smell, in particular, a flowery fragrance which are, in many instances, toxic themselves.
So what’s the solution?
There are cleaning options that are safe and effective.
We know that you can certainly make your own cleaning products.
For example, to make your own window cleaner, you could use a simple formula like this:
3 cups water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
But we ourselves are not big fans of using vinegar because of the smell and the small inconvenience of having to prepare the concoction itself.
Instead, we discovered a single, super concentrated cleaning product that is not only non-toxic, it’s safe and effective.
Even better is that it only costs one penny per 16 ounce bottle of window cleaner.
How is that possible?
The product is called Basic H2.
This is literally the formula one uses to make one, 16-ounce bottle of window cleaner:
procure one 16 oz spray bottle
fill the bottle with your own tap water
add 1 -2 drops of Basic H2
And one 16 oz bottle of Basic H2 has the cleaning power of 5,824 bottles of 26 oz window cleaner.
Plus, it can be used to clean anything, even your dog.
To make a bottle of all-purpose cleaner using Basic H2, you again need to fill-up an empty 16 oz spray bottle with your own water, then add:
1/4 teaspoon of Basic H2
To make a bottle of degreaser to tackle more serious grime, you will simply add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Basic H2 to your self-filled spray bottle.
The company that makes Basic H2 has a complete line of household cleaning products that can be purchased in one Get Clean® kit.
The complete kit goes for just under $100.
Remember that because these products are super-concentrated, you would need to spend $1,000 or more in conventional household cleaning products to equal the amount of product that you receive in one Get Clean® kit.
So you have our permission to gather-up the conglomeration of toxic-stew products underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks, carefully place them in a plastic bag, and dispose of them safely via your local municipality.
Is that the way you clean your body?: The Problem with Phthalates
Do you know what phthalates are? (pronounced “thal-ates”)
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products, among which include personal care products such as nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes and other fragrance preparations.
Almost all fragrances used in personal care products are stabilized with phthalates. In particular, they are used in hair products to safeguard your hair from becoming to stiff, and in most fragrances, where they help to make firm perfumes in products.
In short, they extend the life of fragrances, and they’re in nearly all products that emit a smell.
So what’s the concern?
Some phthalates appear to cause low sperm counts, testicular atrophy, a higher incidence of undescended testicles, and hyposadias.
Here are two research studies done in this area for your further reference:
- Decrease in anogenital distance among male infants with prenatal phthalate exposure: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16079079
- Possible impact of phthalates on infant reproductive health:https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7306961_Possible_impact_of_phthalates_on_infant_reproductive_health
In addition to phthalates, other potentially harmful ingredients are found in may over-the-counter personal care products, including:
- parabens = synthetic preservatives
- sodium lauryl sulfate = sudsing agent in shampoos known to irritate the skin
- propylene glycol = a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water and used in anti-freeze; ingestion can damage kidneys, lungs, heart, and nervous system
- petrolatum = petroleum jelly
- D&C dyes = artificial colors that cannot be used in food but that can be used in drugs and cosmetics
- FD&C dyes = artificial colors that the FDA has approved for use in food, drugs, and cosmetics
The good news is that there are companies making personal care products without these substances.
The product line we personally use is the Enfuselle Skin Care line.
For convenience, many of the items in the line can be purchased in one kit.
Natural Health: What’s on the inside matters even more than what’s on the outside
It’s been said that when it comes to our health, the 80/20 Rule applies.
That is to say that 80% of our quality of health can be tied directly to our daily nutrition.
So whereas it is clear that varying types of exercise, especially aerobic exercise, is necessarily consistent with good health, the primary causative factor is diet.
But our diet stinks, doesn’t it?
In short, we eat too many refined and processed foods which create an inflammatory environment within our own bodies leading to all types of dis-eases among which you will find these eight in the top 10:
(The other two causes of death are unintentional accidents and suicides and not pertinent to this discussion.)
Annually, there are approximately 2.6M deaths in the U.S. with the top 10 causes accounting for 3/4 of all deaths.
These statistics are indeed gloomy.
So how can we avoid becoming included in these statistics in the future?
Hopefully, your health goal has a loftier purpose other than simply trying to avoid becoming a grim statistic.
Personally, I want to be as active and productive for as long as I can, preferably as close to my earthly demise as possible.
I watched my own mother’s quality of life decline due to back pain as a result of a ladder fall a decade earlier.
She expressed to me on numerous occasions her desire to die because of her constant pain and coinciding quality of life.
She had to have help with her Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
Other than my childhood struggles with asthma, I’ve been relatively healthy although I would get either the flu or a cold like most people on average twice per year.
I always hated getting sick and would do my best to heal as fast as possible.
But in early 2008, something different was happening to me.
For about a month, each day I would come home from the office and flop on my living room couch, completely exhausted, and remain there the entire evening until it was bedtime.
Finally, I was advised to pay a visit to my homeopathic physician.
I did, and she drew some vials of blood from me.
After a few days, I returned for the results.
My results were all normal except for one biomarker: my total cholesterol was 220, and it ideally needed to be under 200.
She recommended I start supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly known as fish oil.
I knew we had some at home.
When I returned there, my wife gave me these specific Omega-3s along with this specific multi-vitamin strip.
I started taking one of these strips every day along with two extra Omega-3 capsules.
Additionally, my diet or daily routine remained the same.
Three days later, I felt completely normal, and more importantly, my old energy had returned.
The difference in how I felt was so noticeable that I have continued to supplement with this multi-vitamin strip for over nine years now.
Over the ensuing months, I learned that Vitalizer® was created based on 12 clinical studies and The Landmark Study, the first study of long-term (20+ years) users of multiple supplements, conducted in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley.
The study revealed that people who used Shaklee supplements had markedly better health than those who used no supplements at all AND those who used a single, multi-vitamin.
These are four of the study’s biomarker results:
- 11% lower cholesterol ratios (a key marker for cardiovascular health)
- 33% lower levels of triglycerides (a critical biomarker of heart health)
- 36% lower levels of homocysteine (an indicator of brain and cognitive health)
- 59% lower levels of C-reactive protein (a key biomarker for long-term biological stress)
The study was first ever study to look at the safety and efficacy of long-term supplementation (no one else has ever done a study like this).
Additionally, the study revealed that:
- Shaklee supplement users had better levels of blood nutrients.
- Shaklee supplement users had lower disease incidence.
- Shaklee supplement users rated their own health as better.
- There was no detectable risk associated with Shaklee supplement use.
The final compelling part of this study for me was that Dr. Gladys Block, a professor and researcher in the field of nutrition, approached Shaklee Corp. to request the study.
You can watch another physician, Dr. Stephen Chaney, discuss in the video here why this study has created such an impact in the field of dietary supplementation.
Natural Health: Are you Aging Well?
Another fascinating study was completed in 2014 that focused on telomeres.
Telomeres are extensions of DNA strands that protect the integrity of our genetic information.
The length of telomeres is thought to be a reflection of physiological age (and not chronological age) and a biomarker of overall health status.
Back in 1985, two doctors, Carol Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn, reported the discovery of telomerase, an enzyme that adds more six-letter units to telomeres, making up for their normal loss in cell division.
What is interesting about this study is that telomere length may give us a reliable measure of our long-term overall well-being.
It also appears that we can protect our telomeres (slow the rate at which they shorten) by the choices we make.
Other recent studies have shown that telomere length can be protected by what we eat (for example, by a Mediterranean diet) and by how active we are.
The study suggests that our telomeres may be protected by which supplements we take.
Further statistical analysis from the study concluded that the typical 80-year old Shaklee supplement user (of more than 5 years) has the telomere length of the average 41-year old non-supplement user.
We’ve been consuming this product since it came onto the market in August 2008.
What’s interesting about this polyphenol blend is that the muscadine grape is used in its production.
The muscadine grape just happens to be the only grape in nature that has an extra chromosome.
When combined with other polyphenols, this delicious dietary tonic yields 13 times the power of simply taking resveratrol alone.
So what about you?
Are you interested in living better, longer?
If so, take a peek at this!
Natural Health: So what’s the deal with weight loss?
One would think that with the $60 billion weight loss industry spending lavishly on advertising, we would have a majority of our population who were, at least observably, lean and healthy.
Have you walked outside lately?
Clearly, that is not the case.
And the statistics support our observations. (Our eyes are not deceiving us when we venture into public.)
And it’s not just adults.
33% of our children fall into these undesirable category as well.
On the surface, it appears that much of what the weight-loss industry is dispensing is either simply not working, or the diet plans being recommended are only designed to provide short-term solutions as opposed to creating sustainable, long-term habits of sound dietary routines.
Regardless, there’s got to be a better way to weight loss than simply “watching what one eats” or “counting calories”.
Plus, we like to keep things simple.
In conventional diets, you lose both muscle mass and fat.
When you lose muscle mass, your metabolism slows down which has a direct effect on your ability to burn calories.
By retaining your lean muscle mass while losing the fat, you are much more likely to gain back your natural body shape simply because fat takes up more space than muscle.
Leucine® helps maintain lean muscle mass which is essential to accomplishing your natural body shape and weight.
Your goal is to burn the fat and speed-up your metabolism at the same time.
Leucine® will do exactly that.
The product we use to help maintain our health and natural body weight is both low glycemic and contains Leucine®.
Additionally, the shakes and the meal bars are actually meal replacements which compliment our busy schedules beautifully.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a new program because the ones you’ve used in the past aren’t working, here’s the one we use.
It’s a month’s supply of product containing two meals a day for four weeks for only $270.
That’s about $4 per meal.
It definitely doesn’t cost you and arm and a leg to lose weight.
Natural Health: Have you seen a chiropractor lately?
David: Hi, David with DavidandEveElise.com I’m here today with Dr. Joe Merlo. He and his wife are both chiropractors and they own and operate Good Vibrations Family Chiropractic here in San Diego, and I wanna thank you Dr Joe for taking time out to speak with me today. First of all, I wanna say that I’m a big believer in chiropractic. I’ve been using a chiropractor for 14 years now, and it’s just done wonders for me and my family, but the first question I have for you, is for those who may not know, what is chiropractic treatment?
Dr. Joe: So the practice is all about connection, and it’s really about connecting the brain to the body because you live your life through your nervous system, and your nervous system is how you perceive your environment, and it’s your nervous system that communicates to everything on your body from your cells to your tissues, your muscles, your organs in your system. So it’s all about reconnecting to your brain and your body so that you connect to life.
David: You know the history of chiropractic a little bit I think? It was invented in the 1800’s.
Dr. Joe: Yeah, specifically in 1895, the first adjustment actually restored a man’s hearing and then you know they found out, okay, you know what there has to be a correlation to the spine, to the nerves, and how the body is functioning.
David: Now I didn’t know this was gonna come up. I’m glad you said that because I have a little hearing problem in my left ear.
Dr. Joe: Ah!
David: But we’ll have to talk about that. Why chiropractic for you? Can you tell us a little bit about your story? How I’m sure when you’re younger you didn’t have chiropractic as a profession possibility on your radar.
Dr. Joe: You know, it’s never been on my radar so to speak but it’s always been part of my life. I was raised by an amazing woman in New York City. She had me when she was 15 years old, and I would see you know that she was working full-time, going to school full-time, taking care of me. So she’d come home sore and tired and beat-up so I would just have her lay on the ground, and my heart and spirit just started putting my hands on her and over time I would see she’s healthier and happier and has more energy so over the years my skills developed, and then I was either gonna become a chiropractor, physical therapist, or medical doctor, and for me chiropractic made the most sense cuz it was very holistic, it was wellness-focused, and also non-invasive.
David: Now every profession has its own ideology, philosophy, or methodology, and I know when I became a Certified Financial Planner®, I looked at different investment philosophies that were in the market place, and I had to do my research and study and eventually settled on a philosophy that jibed with me and that I was able to communicate with my clients. What about you? Is there a particular philosophy of chiropractic that you said, “Ah, this makes sense. This is how to approach it.”
Dr. Joe: Absolutely, you know there’s so many philosophies for health and well-being. You know for me and my focus and my approach is on wellness you know because it’s about being proactive vs reactive you know proactive is where you’re choosing health, you’re choosing to eat healthy, you’re choosing to stretch, your choosing to do the right things for your body, and that’s where chiropractic plays a huge role is in proactive. How a lot of times, especially in this day and age, people they’re reacting to their health, reacting to symptoms, they’re reacting to pain, they’re reacting to you know certain diagnosis, and a lot of these things could be prevented you know over a lifetime.
David: Well, let me pigeon hole off that or springboard off that comment. What, in particular, have you observed in your practice that correlates good nutrition with healthy chiropractic outcomes? This maybe patients that you know don’t put a big emphasis on nutrition.
Dr. Joe: Yeah, you know it’s lifestyle choices you know so we’ll see where you know there are three main stressors that affect our body and our brain and one is physical stress you know it could be sitting or standing or lifting heavy objects or sport and there’s too emotional stress, school, work, family and there’s chemical stress which are the foods we eat, the things that we drink, so we see with the people that are eating healthier that have better nutrition they get better results and faster so we always are empowering our clients to really take that proactive approach and eat healthier.
David: Ok, so I didn’t start seeing a chiropractor till I incurred an injury and started to feel that imbalance in my body, but prior to that injury eighteen years ago, I never even thought about seeing a chiropractor. What would you say to someone that feels healthy, feels like they don’t need a chiropractor? What would you say to them that would encourage them to maybe come-up with a need to proactively schedule an appointment with someone like you?
Dr. Joe: Yeah, I think it’s really empowering people to see the big picture of their life and whether they’re 18 or 30 or 50 or 60. You know our bodies are an accumulation of every stress, every experience, every sport, every action we’ve ever had. So those patterns develop over time and pain is the very very last thing to come and pain is the first thing to go but just because there’s a pain doesn’t mean there aren’t any imbalances going on in your nervous system or your body. You know when we’re young we’re invincible. You know it’s as we get older we’re like, “Ok, how can I take better care of my body?” because you get one in this lifetime.
David: And I’ve experienced that myself. I’ve actually gone in for a treatment and felt pretty normal and during the treatment realized something was out of whack or something was exceedingly tight.
Dr. Joe: Yeah, yes so and what we see all the time is we’re helping people redefine what’s normal you know we have had people that have had headaches for 20 plus years, and they’re like, “Dr. Joe, that’s normal.” And I’m like, “Well, it may be common for you, but it’s not normal, right?” And then as their body starts to heal, and they’re brain is communicating better with your body, then the headaches go away, and they’re like, “Woah, that’s weird.” And I’m like, “No, that’s normal.” You know it’s always defining what normal is and always paying attention.
David: Yeah, well thank you so much for spending a few moments with me. I really enjoyed it and appreciate your taking the time out.
Dr. Joe: Oh, anytime brother, anytime, thank you.
In conclusion, remember, the road to good health begins with small changes.
Learning is the first step. Don’t stop.
Here’s to your health and longevity!
If we can be of further help, please reach out to us.
We’d love to help!