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Coronavirus By The Numbers And How To Prevent Infection

A Letter From Dave Asprey

Dear Fellow Biohackers,

I write this letter with some mixed emotions. Spring is typically a time for awakening, energy, and renewal.  Instead, this year we find ourselves in a time of social distancing, fear of the coronavirus, and anxiety created by economic uncertainty throughout the world.  For many, this has caused our amygdala (the fear center of our brain) to go into overdrive.

Despite what’s happening around us, there are reasons to feel encouraged and even grateful.  (I would argue that finding peace of mind is even more critical during times of isolation.)

Here are just a few things to be grateful for right now:

  • More time with your loved ones at home. It’s safe to say that we are all incredibly busy balancing work, family and self-care. As we navigate how to spend our days for at least the next couple weeks, we can also take advantage of the extra time that has been gifted to us — time that we can appreciate and share with our family members (including pets too!).
  • The Internet is awesome.  With just a few finger swipes or clicks, you can get access to virtually anything and still stay connected to extended family and friends — even if you can’t physically be near them. (Next time you Skype Grandma, tell her I said hi!)
  • In this golden age of digital content, you have the time to actually enjoy it. Okay, this is an extension of the bullet point above, but I really want to emphasize it. There is an abundance of television shows, movies, audio books, e-books, podcasts, games, and YouTube videos available for you online right now.  I’m not saying that you should become a couch potato, (you can also do home workouts with guided instructions via various digital programs), but this is a great opportunity to embrace the (extra) time that you have and distract yourself from the news. Why not catch up on a book that you never got to read, or watch a documentary that might challenge your perspective?
  • You can be part of the change and make a difference.  It is pretty bizarre seeing grocery store shelves completely emptied, schools closed, and the explosion of mass hysteria on social media.  Amidst the pessimistic news reports, it’s important to remember: look for the helpers — or become one!  This could mean offering to get groceries for an elderly neighbor if they are vulnerable to contracting respiratory illnesses.  Or if you have extra food or household items, even a small donation could bring a smile to someone’s face. Thanks to the handy-dandy Internet, it’s also super easy to send money via various apps (which would be especially helpful for those that are currently put out of work during this time of social distancing and quarantines happening all over the world).

I have had a lot of people ask me if they should be worried about contracting the coronavirus. Truthfully, it’s inevitable that many of us (yes, myself included) will become infected at some point in time.  But if you’re healthy, your immune system will fight off the infection like it’s supposed to.  Think about how a typical cold plays out — there are some people who don’t recover from colds very well because their bodies aren’t as resilient, while others may not even realize that they are sick because their immune system has stepped in to fight off the unhealthy cells within the body.

Death Rates: A Look at the Numbers

News reports of coronavirus-induced deaths has fueled the hysteria happening (and the carts full of toilet paper).  There is absolutely merit to being aware and proactive about the current public health concern; however, it’s worth looking closely at the data to get a better idea of what the coronavirus landscape really looks like.

According to a recent publication by my good friend, Peter  Diamandis, on one of the worst days for Coronavirus in China (February 10, 2020), 108 people died. But on any given day, globally:

  • 26,283 people die of cancer;
  • 49,041 people die of cardiovascular diseases;
  • 4,383 people die of diabetes.

If you’ve read my latest book, Super Human, you’ll remember that Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are the primary four killers for humans worldwide.  To put the numbers above into context, the chances of dying from the coronavirus are extremely low.

How YOU Can Help Slow the Surge of Coronavirus

  • Delay getting an infection so that there is more space in hospitals for those that really need it. That means taking social distancing seriously and following the protocols set out by the CDC and WHO.
  • Honor our elders and be kind to those who may have a weaker immune system. Think about what you can do to support them during this difficult time — even the simplest of gestures could mean a LOT.
  • Focus on becoming more resilient by:
    • not smoking
    • avoiding alcohol
    • not eating sugar or fried foods
    • getting adequate sleep
    • getting 20-30 minutes of natural sunlight every day (standing by your window or stepping out onto your balcony could help here; if you’re itching to go for a walk or run, opt to go around the block at a safe distance from other people rather than running on the treadmill at your local gym where germs and bacteria could make you more vulnerable to illness)
    • maintaining a positive outlook and being gentle with yourself

Ultimately, you can become immune to the coronavirus by getting it, and then getting through it with a resilient immune system!

I know that this is a strange time, and there’s a lot of information swirling out there…but don’t let the hysteria deter you from finding/creating peace of mind. This journey may get a little bumpy before it gets better, but we are all in this together. Let’s make sure that we are all doing what we can to keep our immune systems strong and get through this thing!

In Good Health & Gratitude,

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The Best Cleaning Products for a Happy, Healthy Home

The snow is melting, the birds are chirping, and with the new season approaching it is time to bring some fresh energy into your home But before you start your marathon of dusting, scrubbing, wiping and organizing, be sure to inventory of all your cleaning products. The truth is that some are less safe than others – particularly those that use toxic materials or that could exposure you to hazardous pollutants. Keep reading to see some of our favorite [truly] natural home care products and get ready to tackle your annual spring cleaning – the safe and healthy way. 

The Best Soaps

Dr. Bronner’s
Who doesn’t love a humble beginning?  Dr. Bronner’s soap was founded in 1948 by Emanuel Bronner, a third-generation master soap maker of German-Jewish decent. Its history goes back even further to the very first soap factory in Germany, as well as the first liquid castile soap ever made.  What stands out about Dr. Bonner’s soap is that it’s labeled as “Pure-Castile” rather than ”Liquid Soap”. This means that the product is vegetable oil-basedecological and simple – not a complex blend of detergents with higher ecological impact and slower biodegradability.
 

Why we love it: Dr. Bronner’s is a certified B corporation — a business that meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.  Dr. Bronner’s has also become the largest personal care company certified under the USDA’s National Organic ProgramAfter over 50 years in operation, the company continues to honor its founder’s vision by making socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and by dedicating its profits to help improve society. 

Mrs. Meyer’s
Mrs. Meyer’s offers a series of hand and dish soaps that were created in honor of Mrs. Thelma A. Meyer, an Iowa homemaker and mother of nine.  Unlike other household products that use toxic fragrances to make them smell better, these soaps are made from plant-derived products and essential oils to capture the scent and beauty of a Midwestern backyard garden. Learn more about their ingredients here.
 

Why we love it: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day soaps have garnered a great reputation for their ability to cut through dirt and grime without using harsh, toxic chemicals. Thanks to the plant-based ingredients that they use, you still get the benefit of fresh scents that are more reminiscent of Grandma’s house than disinfectants. 

The Best Laundry Detergents

Tru Earth
Tired of lugging around heavy bottles of detergent?  Tru Earth Eco-Strips are a simpler, cleaner, and more convenient solution for cleaning laundryThese strips are notably hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and free of parabens, phosphates, dyes, as well as chlorine bleach. 

Why we love it: Tru Earth Laundry Strips are likely to be one of – if not the most – eco-friendly alternative to commercial laundry detergentBecause their packaging only consists of compostable cardboard, they reduce transportation pollution by up to 94%. They can also help prevent over 700 million plastic jugs from getting dumped in landfills. 

MyGreenFills  
Unlike store-bought laundry products, MyGreenFills does not use artificial fragrances, chemical surfactants, petroleum-based carriers, optical brighteners, or dyes.  They do, however, offer 100% hypoallergenic unscented options for those that have a sensitivity to certain essential oils. As part of their mission, MyGreenFills has made the conscious decision to use eco-friendly packaging to help pass on more savings to customers. An added benefit is that their products have prevented over 2,000,000 laundry jugs from winding up in the ocean. 

Why we love it: Convenience and efficiency This non-toxic laundry system allows you to save time, money and space in your laundry closet. Plus, they offer a membership program in which you can choose the ideal bundle size, scent, and shipment frequency to meet your every laundry need!

The Best Multipurpose Cleaners

Branch Basics 
If you’re looking to simplify your cleaning efforts, Branch Basics offers a multipurpose concentrate that makes cleaning simple, affordable and sustainable.  So, rather than having to stock up on several different types of cleaning products (with harsh chemicals included), simply dilute the concentrate with water and use it throughout your cleaning marathon. 

Here’s a quick list of some of the things that you can use the Branch Basics concentrate on: 

  • Laundry 
  • hand and body wash 
  • Kitchen 
  • Dishes 
  • Bathrooms 
  • Floors 
  • Produce 
  • and more! 

Why we love it: The Branch Basics concentrate is plant and mineral based, biodegradable, and free of harmful preservatives, making it not only a safe product to use but also a sustainable one.  The other upside to using just one concentrate is that this can be extremely cost-effective for your wallet over time. 

Force of Nature
Have you ever heard of electrolyzed waterThis simple yet powerful substance is comprised of two key ingredients: 

  • Hypochlorous acid – a disinfectant that’s as effective as bleach (and apparently, it’s the same substance your white blood cells produce to fight infection — who knew!) 
  • Sodium hydroxide – a detergent & grease-cutter without suds 

Technically, Force of Nature is a patent-pending appliance, and it creates electrolyzed water from water, salt and vinegar. The result is an all-natural, all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner and disinfectant that works just as well as commercial cleaners but is safer to use. 

Why we love it: Well, for one, it’s like a fun experiment that everyone in the family can enjoy – even kids! Force of Nature is also EPA registered and often used in hospitals, ICUs, schools, daycares and more. So, there is resounding proof that this product is safe for use. 

The Best Air Freshener

Grow Fragrance
When it comes to traditional air fresheners, health experts are primarily concerned with their wide-spread use of phthalates. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has heeded warning that phthalates can negatively impact testosterone levels in men and reproductive abnormalities in women. They can also cause allergic symptoms and asthma — even in trace amounts. After observing the limited choices of healthy air fresheners on the market, Grow Fragrance created their own — one that is 100% plant based, toxin-free, and that smells amazing. 

Why we love it: Grow Fragrance is a certified B corporation, and the company has committed to donating 1% of all sales to 1% for the Planet to help protect land, forests, rivers, oceans, and to encourage sustainable production methods. 

The Best Protectant Against Mold

Homebiotic
Did you know that the average American household has more than 2,000 different species of fungus and 7,000 species of bacteria? The good news: not all bacteria is bad for you; the bad news: some bacteria can lead to the growth of mold and mildew in your home.  

The key is to create a healthy balance of bacteria in your home – that’s where Homebiotic spray comes in! Homebiotic is a probiotic for your home that restores healthy bacteria and helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew. It also helps eliminate the cause of musty odors, aka that gross “basement smell” (did you remember to move the towels to the dryer?!). 

Why we love it: Homebiotic is clear as water and has no detectable smell or added scents. The company has also recently launched a Home Biome Test Kit, which involves a thorough (and super analytical) process that reveals the “biome” of your home and learn how to optimize it for your family’s health.

Save 15% off your order when you use coupon code “daveasprey”.

Disclosure: We may on occasion include affiliate links on our website. Please note that if you make a purchase using any of these affiliate linksthe Dave Asprey Box may earn a commission. With that said, we have intentionally chosen to promote specific companies and their products because we wholeheartedly believe in their quality and mission. 

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Laundry Detergent & Toxicity: What You Need to Know

Guest Post by: Tru Earth 

We spend a lot of time washing and drying our clothes – as much as 6,000+ minutes and 406 loads per yearAnd if you’ve visited grocery store recently, you’ve probably noticed an entire aisle filled from top to bottom with laundry detergentwhich has become a staple for cleaning and freshening clothes in nearly every household (in America). But be weary of the toxicity found in many leading brands of laundry detergent. They often contain chemicals that have been linked to various health issues, ranging from skin and throat irritation to carcinogenicity, anthat can negatively impact the environment. 

ChemicalsWhich Ones You Need to Know About

First: fragrances. Products with added scents and fragrances give pleasure to billions of people around the world every single day – from a fresh-smelling shampoo to a scented candle and freshly-laundered sheetsThey are also great for making products seem more effective and healthier to consume. Here’s what manufacturers don’t want you to know: smelling good can come at a cost for your health. 

Key Facts: 

  1. Fragrances have been classified as allergens, hormone disruptors, and neurotoxins. They commonly contain phthalates, which are chemicals that help scents last longer but have been linked to cancerreproductive harm, and respiratory toxicity.
  2. Fragrance chemicals, like other toxic chemicals, can pass from the skin and into the bloodstream.
  3. So called “natural fragrances” can be just as toxic as synthetic fragrances.
  4. Fragrances do not make products healthier or more effective; this is a perception encouraged by companies that sell cleaning products, deodorants, shampooscandles, and/or laundry detergents.
  5. According to The Guardian, “About 4,000 chemicals are currently used to scent products, but you won’t find any of them listed on a label. Fragrance formulations are considered a ‘trade secret’ and therefore protected from disclosure – even to regulators or manufacturers. Instead, one word, fragrance, appears on ingredients lists for countless cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products. A single scent may contain anywhere from 50 to 300 distinct chemicals.” What’s more, the ingredients found in personal care and cleaning products can change as manufacturers reformulate for effectiveness or cost savings. 

The bottom line: it doesn’t matter if a bottle has “free” or “clear” written in big letters to draw you in; “free of dyes and perfumes” on the label doesn’t mean “free of carcinogens.” Consumers are often left in the dark about what’s really inside of the products they are using and putting on their skin every single day.

Though many hidden chemicals are labeled as “fragrance” or “perfume”/”parfum”, there are at least a handful of ingredients that have received public safety warnings: 

  • 1,4-dioxane is a contaminant that may be found in trace amounts of cosmetics or household cleaners. It forms as a byproduct during the manufacturing process of certain ingredients (detergents, foaming agents, emulsifiers and solvents) and has been identified as a “potential human carcinogen”. The FDA has been monitoring the includion of 1,4-dioxane in personal care and household products. The levels have notably dropped over the past several decades; still, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that, “People are exposed to [trace amounts of] 1,4-dioxane every day because of its widespread use in medicines, shampoo, cosmetics, detergents, and household items.” 
     
  • Alcohol Ethoxylate (AE) and Alcohol Ethoxy Sulfate (AES) are often used in hand dishwashing liquids, laundry detergents, shampoos and other specialty industrial applications. They essentially help mix water and grease to lift and remove stains from your clothing. However, research shows that these chemicals are toxic to aquatic organisms and rats, and may cause skin or eye irritations in humans.
     
  • Ethanol is a natural byproduct of plant fermentation often used as a preservative in personal care products or as a solvent in detergents. (But you probably know it best as the principle ingredient in alcoholic beverages like beer, wine or brandy.) While this chemical has many purposes and potential benefits, it can be hazardous if not used correctly. For example, direct contact can irritate the skin and eyes, cause headaches, nausea, or difficulty concentrating. Studies also indicate that ethanol may make your skin more absorbent. In other words, if you’re using a detergent that – no pun intended – a laundry list of hidden chemicals, including ethanol, those chemicals are more likely to enter your body through your skin.
     
  • Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that have been linked to hormonal and reproductive effects, as well as cancer. Commonly used in household products, cleansers, cosmetics, and insecticides, the abundance of these chemicals has led to a global environmental and human contamination. In fact, they have been detected in human breast milk, blood, and urine. They are also highly toxic to aquatic life and are associated with reproductive and developmental effects in rodents. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a Significant New Use Rule, also known as a SNUR, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for (15) NPs/NPEs in the effort to protect human health and the environment.
     
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is a polymer that allows water to penetrate clothes more deeply and prevents dirt from re-depositing on clothes. The major concern with this solvent is that it may produce byproducts that are contaminated with ethylene oxide and/or 1,4-dioxane, which are “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” according to the EPASome studies show that PEG can also irritate the skin or have species-specific effects.
     
  • Sodium Percarbonate, also known as washing soda or soda ash, is a moderately strong oxidizer and a major component of laundry and dishwashing detergents. It’s typically used as a bleaching agent – so it gets your whites white. But what else is it doing to you? Note that sodium percarbonate is classified as a poisonous agent.  If swallowed, a person may experience symptoms including (but not limited to):  
      • Breathing problems due to throat swelling 
      • Diarrhea 
      • Drooling 
      • Eye irritation, redness, and pain 
      • Hoarseness 
      • Low blood pressure (may develop rapidly) 
      • Severe pain in the mouth, throat, chest, or abdominal area 
      • Shock 
      • Difficulty swallowing 
      • Vomiting 

           Even if it’s not ingested (Pod challenge, anyone?), skin or eye contact with sodium percarbonate can still cause: skin or eye irritation, drainage, pain, or vision loss.

Look, it’s fair to say that some chemicals truly work wonders when it comes to washing and drying clothes. But these ingredients can have serious consequences on the environment  which directly impacts the health of more than 7 billion people and over 11 million species of animals, plants, insects and bacteria: 

  • Amine Oxides are commonly used in detergents and household cleaners (with bleach)and like most cationic chemicals, they are highly aquatically toxic. There have been concerns regarding the formation of nitrosamines during the manufacture of amine oxide because nitrosamines are toxic compounds as well as potent animal and human carcinogens. The U.S. EPA has classified some of these compounds as priority pollutants in industrial wastewaters, potable waters, and hazardous wastes (Science Direct).
  • Alcohol Ethoxylates (AE) are high production volume (HPV) chemicals used widely as ‘down-the-drain’ chemicals in detergent and personal care products. Basically, when your washing machine empties into the drain system, it goes through municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and then into receiving surface waters like lakes and streamsThe good news is that 95-99% of AE is biodegraded by WWTP; the bad news is that there are still residuals that make it through the water treatment facilities and pose a level of toxicity to plants, animals and aquatic life
     
  • Ammonium Sulfate is often used in cleaning products because of its ability to disrupt hydrogen bonding in water and separate different contaminants. Note that this additive is so toxic (category 3 oral, skin, and respiratory toxin) that its manufacturers recommend not using it indoors! Additionally, the requirements for use of ammonium sulfate include never allowing the chemical or its empty containers to reach drains or waterways.
     
  • Phosphates are a little more complicated. Your body needs these essential minerals to help your kidneys, bones, and muscles function properly. But like with any essential nutrient, it’s all about balance. People have become overexposed to what’s called “synthetic phosphates”, which can easily bond with other substances such as salt, calcium, oil and vitamins. These additives are not only found in our food, they are also in these synthetic forms: 
      • Orthophosphates: detergents 
      • Pyrophosphates: water treatment, metal cleaning 
      • Tripolyphosphates: meat processing, dish detergent 
      • Polyphosphates: kaolin (a type of clay) production 

Like our bodies, the environment doesn’t respond well to an oversaturation of (synthetic and natural) phosphates. Unfortunately, many sources of phosphates, including laundry detergent, often drain into lakes and accelerate eutrophication, the process in which aquatic environments become overloaded with nutrients, leading to the development excess algae that ultimately kills wildlife and emits carbon dioxide.

Plastic Waste and High Carbon Footprint are Big Concerns Too

Laundry detergent alone accounted for over $1 Billion in sales in 2018 in the U.S., but only 29.1% of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles and jars are recycled annuallyThat means a staggering number of laundry jugs are sitting in landfills, where they’ll stay forever because PET plastic bottles do not degrade. 

It’s also worth noting that non-concentrated liquid laundry detergent is 60-90% water. So, in addition to all the plastic jugs filling up landfills, a LOT of energy goes into the manufacturing, filling, transporting, storing and selling of heavy detergent bottles (that are primarily composed of water). 

Simply put: purchasing standard grocery-store laundry detergent can have many implications on human health and the environment. 

How You Can Help

To reduce the environmental impact of doing laundry, and proactively preserve your family’s health, follow these eco-friendly laundry tips: 

  1. Switch to natural detergents and stain removers. Natural products are typically plant-based, biodegradable surfactants that do NOT contain fragrances, dyes, optical brighteners, or chlorine bleachIt can be hard to spot the bad actors, just bdiligent about reading the fine print on packaging when shopping!
  2. Consider making your own laundry productsThe only real way to know what’s going into your laundry is to create your own formulas. The good news is that your pantry is probably stocked with a lot of ingredients that are naturally safe for the environment – such as vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. (You can also use essential oils to add that fresh scent you love!)
  3. Rethink dryer sheets and fabric softeners. For the most part, these are made with the same chemicals as popular detergents and can be harmful for both human health and the environment. Instead, opt for eco-friendly dryer sheets or dryer balls. Specifically, consider using wool dryer balls because they effectively separate clothes, allowing hot air to circulate more evenly and efficiently, which then reduces drying time by 10-25%.
  4. Keep it cool. Almost 90% of a wash machine’s energy consumption is used just to heat the water. The solution: Turn that dial to cold.
  5. Wash full loads. If you run your washing machine or dryer with only half a load of clothes or dishes, you’re not maximizing efficiency. (Same thing goes for when you clean dishes in your dishwasher!) According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical household can save 3,400 gallons of water a year by running full laundry loads instead of half loads. This is not only eco-friendly but will also help you save BIG on your utility bills.
  6. Use energy-efficient machines. If you’re in the market for a new washer and/or dryer, consider getting a more efficient model to help save water and energy.
  7. Hang clothes to dry. The bottom line is that keeping your clothes out of a dryer extends their life, reduces energy use, and cuts costs. Line drying – whether indoors or outdoors – is something that you can do year-round. 

No matter whether doing laundry feels like a chore, or it brings you a sense of happiness, it’s important that you understand what your body is being exposed to, and how your actions can directly impact the environment. Be sure to read the labels of everything you buy carefully and understand what the ingredients are so that you can make informed decisions for you and your family, as well as the planet. 

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Why Words Matter, and How They Affect You Every Day

In a world where more of us are speaking up, many are still not being heard. Why? Because words matter; and yet there’s a laundry list of words and phrases that are either negative, overused, and/or not used correctlyThese self-limiting sayings not only affect how we show up in the world every day; they can also negatively impact how others perceive us.

First, Weasel Words

Have you ever made a promise or commitment to someone and then backed out? (C’mon, we all have at some point.) The thing is, the subconscious is super smart. When we (subconsciously) want to avoid responsibilitywe tend to rely on weaker language, otherwise known as weasel words, which give us more wiggle room in life so that we don’t have to firmly commit – to others or ourselves, ever!  

Here are four weasel words that you likely use many times a day without even realizing it:

Can’t
This is a word that we learn at a very young age. Parents often use it to set boundaries with kids so that they understand the rules of the house. With that said, it can be destructive because it is associated with inability or lack of possibility. As soon as you think it or say it aloud, you put limitations on yourself and create patterns of helplessness. Rather than saying “I can’t” do something, consider that you either 1) don’t know how to, 2) may need some help, or 3) need the proper tools to succeed. 

Need
Many people often confuse “need” with “want”, but these two things are distinctly different. A need is something that you must have in order to survive; and a want is something that you desire to have but may or may not be able to obtain. The danger of misusing the word “need” is that you‘re telling your primitive brain that you need something you really desire in order to survive. This behavior pattern can make a person weaker, less creative, and less productive. Be mindful of what you truly need (e.g. food, water, shelter) and think of your wants as nice-to-haves that really don’t affect your ability to survive (and thrive). 

Try
Avoiding this word may be a hard habit to break because many of us were taught“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” In this context, trying means not giving up and putting your best foot forward. However, “trying” is sort of an in-between word; it has good intent but it’s still non-committalSo, if someone ask you for a favor or to show up for them somehow, and you say that you’ll try, you’re essentially saving face for the moment but still leaving room for you to break your promise later. 

“Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

Bad
What’s defined as “good or “bad really comes down to opinion, and between the two, the latter is inherently negative. The thing is, using this black and white label can limit your thinking and make it more difficult to see the bigger picture. Let’s take debt, for example. Many people associate a negative feeling with debt because if you have it then that means that you owe financial assets to someone else. But not all debt is bad. When it’s backed by appreciable assets — such as real estate — you are making a long-term investment will give you more return once you have paid off the mortgage on your home Student debt is also considered reasonable and even positive because it’s something that you take on to further your professional career, which means you’ll get a return on your investment in the future. Rather than using “good” or “bad”, consider saying “This is more (or less) optimal than that.” 

Note that judgment is binary, meaning that we tend to put things in terms of two options – either option A or option B, but not both (e.g. yes/no or good/bad). According to Mark B. Baer, a lawyer that specializes in eliciting empathy for more effective conflict resolution or management: 

“When the brain reacts in a binary way, it leads to quick, irrational decisions and action; when a dialogue is engaged between the emotional and rational parts of the brain…. We can come to believe that reality is defined by two mutually exclusive categories….” 

A true sign of personal growth is if you’re able to turn binary thinking into discernment – the ability to make decisions, using both the head and heart, and assessing values that are important to you. Discernment is considered to be a virtue; discerning individual are mindful and perhaps walk around with a little more wisdom than those that are quick to make decisions using binary, black and white thinking. Remember this the next time you’re engaged in deep conversation with a friend, family member or coworker 🙂 

Other Words and Sayings That Kill the Vibe

Some words are simply annoying, especially when they are overused or not used correctly. We’re talking about corporate jargon, buzzwords, and sophomoric language that probably affects how others perceive and respond to you: 

  • Synergy/synergistic environment – In marketing, the idea is that two individuals or companies are stronger together than they are individually. But today, the word “synergy” seems to have endless uses and meanings.) 
  • Paradigm shift – It’s meant to indicate a change in business practices, but it’s become very overused…so much so that it can come across as an attempt to cover up a mistake with fancy language. 
  • Low-hanging fruit – This refers to focusing on the easy route; doing the easiest thing. But easiest isn’t always best. 
  • Bandwidth – For the sake of your health and sanity, yes, be mindful of your workload (and other responsibilities in your life).  But you’re not a robot, and you don’t use transmitting signals to receive and complete tasks that others want to give to you. 
  • Customer-centric – Honestly, if your business is anything-else-centric, just file for Chapter 11 right now. 
  • Viral/viral marketing – It’s not a social virus that spreads its tentacles in public domain, but it sounds like one.  We get it, everyone wants the secret sauce to make their idea, content or business become seen by as many people as possible and as quickly as possible. The reality is that you can’t force people to understand and/or resonate with your message.  Over the past couple of years there has been increased attention on the potential mental health dangers associated with hyper-focusing on social media, only showing a highlight real, and exhibiting compulsive behaviors that can affect your mood. Rather than focusing on “going viral”, consider how to strike a chord with others by being your authentic self. 
  • NextGen – Eek. Avoid words that could potentially draw attention to age.  Also, “NextGen” of the moment will hardly be “NextGen” by the time it’s adopted or downloaded. 
  • Millennial (or other generational terms, like GenX or GenY) – Lumping people into a generation really isn’t helpful because individuals are unique, they come from different backgrounds, and they have different interests. Whether you’re having a casual conversation with friends or discussing your target market at work, be mindful of individuality. 
  • Organic growth – There are so many ways for businesses to grow in today’s economy (without mergers or acquisitions), and every business should be experiencing it anyway, so putting a label on it is unnecessary. 
  • Out of the box (At this point, it feels very in-the-box.) 
  • Our signals were crossed.” (In truth there was a miscommunication that someone probably doesn’t want to own up to.) 

Just for fun: Use this tool to generate and share custom-built meaningless business phrases using overused business buzzwords. 

Remember, using tired and worn out expressions do not help one stand out from the crowd. And honestly, these cliché buzzwords and jargon sound like nails slowly scratching a chalkboard.  Focus on using creative, original language – to improve how others perceive you, and to create real change you wish to see in the world. 

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How to Reduce Oxidative Stress and Master Homeostasis

Written by: Comosystems 

Over the past couple of decades, digital devices have become integral parts of daily life. However, research suggests that the electromagnetic fields (EMF) that these devices emit can damage cellular components such as proteins, lipids and DNA, and cause oxidative stress in tissues throughout the human body. Exposure to EMFs take your body out of homeostasis; lifetime exposure can cause a biological imbalance that may lead to disease or even death over time.

Why It’s Important for Your Body to Maintain Homeostasis 

The word “homeostasis” derives from Greek roots, with “homeo” meaning “similar,” and stasis, meaning “a state of stability.” It refers to an organism’s process of maintaining a stable internal environment that is necessary for survival. This includes maintaining a steady body temperature as well as other vital conditions such as the water, salt, sugar, protein, fat, calcium and oxygen contents within the blood (Scientific American). 

In healthy organisms, the body works to maintain a state of equilibrium among its various internal parts by carrying out homeostatic processes constantly. This requires multiple systems within the body to work together, all the time. Though organs throughout the body involved, the endocrine system and the nervous system are both especially important in sustaining and regulating homeostasis. If any of the body’s systems fail, and/or the state of balance gets seriously disrupted, an organism may become more vulnerable to inflammation, disease, or death. 

What are Free Radicals and Oxidative Stress?

Free radicals are unstable atoms, such as oxygen reactive species (ROS), that can damage cells. It’s worth noting that free radicals aren’t all bad; they can have both positive and negative impacts on human health. The body’s immune system uses free radicals to fight pathogens. These atoms are also involved in many cellular signaling pathways. For example, nitric oxide (NO) helps regulate blood flow modulation and neural activity. 

The detriment really begins when there is an excess of free radicals that leads to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when cells (and antioxidants) can’t clear them out effectively. This imbalance is the precursor to oxidative damage — a crucial factor in the development of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseasediabetes, and autoimmune diseases. 

How EMF Radiation Causes Oxidative Stress and Affects Homeostasis

More than 3 billion people across the world are exposed to EMF every day (NCBI)When you are exposed to the artificial EMF from your current environment, electric fields generated by the communication devices exert an oscillatory force on every free ion on both sides of the plasma membrane and cause them to cross it.

This movement of ions causes: 

  • deterioration of the ion channels in the membrane,
  • biochemical changes in the membrane,
  • and, consequently, the impairment of all cellular functions.

You might be thinking, “but we have anti-oxidative damage mechanisms to compensate this inflammation”.  Yes, we do have these mechanisms, such as glutathione (GSH), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), catalase (CAT), and superoxide dismutase (SOD), in order to alleviate the damage caused by ROS and their by-products. The bad news is that the defense mechanisms could be impaired by being subjected to an agent (such as EMF, but also other sources) that causes an overproduction of ROS, thus resulting in oxidative stress. In fact, studies have shown that EMF non-ionizing radiation alters the transcription and translation of genes such as JUN, HSP 70 and MYC, via the epidermal growth factor receptor EGFR-ras, leading to the generation of ROS and resulting in the overproduction of ROS in tissues. 

The ROS can then induce: 

  • chronic inflammation by the induction of COX 2,
  • inflammatory cytokines (TNF?, interleukin 1 (IL-1), IL-6),
  • chemokines (IL-8, CXCR4),
  • and pro-inflammatory transcription factors (NF-?B).

Exposure to EMFs enhances inflammatory responses, which inhibits the effects of the body’s antioxidants. This is what leads to oxidation stress and disrupts homeostasis, subsequently making you more vulnerable to discomfort, pain, and disease.

How to Live in Harmony with EMFs and Maintain Homeostasis 

Let’s be honest, EMFs aren’t going anywhere. If anything, the signals from our devices and networks are likely to grow stronger as we become an increasingly connected and “always-on” society (see more info on 5G and EMFs). So how do we maintain our daily structure and our health?  

Here are a couple of simple lifestyle changes that you can make without completely uprooting your routine: 

Keep Devices Away from the Body
Rather than putting your phone directly against your ear, opt for using speaker phone on your mobile device. It’s also preferable to keep your phone in a backpack or purchase rather than in your pocket (directly against your body).  

Hardwire Your Internet Connection Instead of Using Wi-Fi
This not only reduces your exposure to EMFS, it can also give you more a more reliable connection too. 

Move Your Wi-Fi Router to Another Area
As long as you can get the signal from the routerconsider moving it to the garage or porch to reduce EMF exposure 

Do Not Adopt 5G
It’s as simple as it sounds, for now. Opt to keep your devices on 4G and/or don’t purchase devices that utilize the 5G network. 

Use Airplane Mode When You Can
If you’re a frequent traveler, then you’re already used to practicing this. As long as you don’t need to be connected to the internet, you can still use your device while on airplane mode. 

Protect Your Bedroom
Sleep is crucial for ridding the brain and body of toxins. Since this is the time when your body needs to recover and repair itself, it’s even more important to keep your devices off and away from your body. 

Use CMO Technology
Comosystems uses what is called Compensating Magnetic Oscillator (CMO) technology that stems from a 15-year research program that studied the effects of electromagnetic environments on things such as the properties of water, coherent domains, stochastic resonance, and ion homeostasis.  

CMO technology essentially works to regulate the ion channels in your cells in order to help you maintain homeostasis. It also increases the signal of its own resonance in response to stronger intensities and frequencies. This helps to optimize your physical and psycho-psychological levels of performance, and to protect you from harmful EMF environments as we become increasingly reliant on electrical appliances and network connections. 

To learn more about CMO technology and how to protect yourself from EMFs (at home or on-the-go), click here.

You can also save 10% off your order when you use coupon code “COMOPROMO” at checkout.

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The Ultimate Gift Guide for Biohackers

When shopping for a biohacker, it’s important to think about where they currently are in their health journey, and where they want to be. Some biohackers are extremely experienced and devoted to pushing their bodies further; these are the people that want access to the latest and greatest technology, and that feel excited to be one of the first to see how it impacts their mind, body and/or performance. Other subsets of biohackers might not be as adventurous, but they are fully committed to things like losing weight, sleeping better, ridding themselves of illnesses that doctors couldn’t, or making simple lifestyle changes that ultimately make them feel better.  

The one thing that unifies biohackers is their relentless passion for improving all aspects of their well-being so that they can function at their best. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of gifts for biohackers of all levels and interests. So, whether you’re celebrating a birthday, Christmas, or you simply want to express your gratitude, here are some gift ideas to show your biohacking friends or family members that you care about their health and well-being as much as they do 🙂 

For years, there was a resounding attitude towards sleeping that suggested not doing it made you some sort of sex symbol. This #TeamNoSleep culture has not only reinforced the notion that doing more on less sleep is better, but it’s led to sever burnout. Fortunately, we are now seeing a “Sleep Revolution” in which more sleep researchers are stepping up and sharing the science behind sleep deprivation, as well as how disruption to our circadian health can lead to several serious health issues, including but not limited to: heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, mood disorders, and even cancer. There has also been an explosion in sleep apps, trackers and wearables since more people are looking to improve the quality and quantity of their slumber each night. The following products can help: 

Oura Ring 
Biohackers are research-driven, and they love using data to inform their decisions. When it comes to sleep, wearable technology empowers the user to have a better understanding of what is happening to his or her body at night.  
The Oura Ring specifically provides the following metrics: 
 
Bedtime, Deep sleep, REM sleep, Heart rate, Heart Rate Variability (stress levels), Sleep efficiency, Wake time, Sleep score, Body temperature, Sleep stages, Breathing rates, Total bedtime, Total sleep time 
 
The benefit of tracking how long you slept, and how restorative your slumber was the night before, is that you can begin to draw connections between those numbers and your daily activities. For example, if you work out later in the day, or continue to consume caffeine past 2pm, you might notice that it takes you longer to fall asleep at night. Compared to other wearables that are often bulky or inconvenient, the Oura Ring is a barely-there accessory that is stylish for men and women. It’s also worth noting that this product is a Bluetooth Smart class 2 device; according to their website, the ring’s Bluetooth is active for less than 1% of the day and emits a very minimal amount of EMFs.

Compatibility: iOS, Android 

Cost: From $299 (up to $999 if you want some extra bling in your ring!) 

TrueDark Sleep-Hacking Glasses 
Light directly influences your natural circadian rhythm (your 24-hour sleep/wake cycle(. The problem is that humans have evolved from solely relying on natural sunlight and fire; we now live in an ”always-on” culture that keeps artificial (LED and fluorescent) lights on all the time.  Overexposure to this ”junk” light throws off the body’s circadian rhythm, which makes it extremely difficult to get adequate sleep at night and perform well during the day. The key to keeping your circadian rhythm on track is to take more control of the light around you. Society probably won’t go back to strictly sunlight and fire, but you can proactively prevent overexposure to junk light. 
 
TrueDark Sleep-Hacking Glasses (designed by Dave Asprey, ”The Father of Biohacking” himself) block out up to 100% of blue, green and violet light. The moment you put them on, they signal to your brain that it’s dark outside and put you into an alpha (meditative) state so that you can fall and stay asleep. Everybody can benefit from better sleep, but these may be especially useful for people who use LED screens for extended periods of time, for shift workers, frequent travelers (especially across time zones), and new parents (because they get as much sleep as their newborn!). Even if you aren’t able to get a full eight hours of sleep, TrueDark Sleep-Hacking Glasses can help you improve the quality of your sleep — so that you feel and perform better the next day. 
 
Cost: $79-99 for any single pair of adult glasses, or $139 for any two pairs 
$59 for any single pair of TrueDark Kids glasses, or $99 for any two pairs
(suitable for ages 3-7)

chiliPAD Sleep System 
In addition to light, temperature also directly impacts the body’s circadian rhythm. In order to fall into a deep sleep, your core body temperature needs to drop a few degrees. Ideally, your bedroom should be between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep; but everyone’s body is different, and if you sleep in bed with a partner, you might be most comfortable at different temperatures.  
 
The chiliPAD Sleep System consists of a a hydro-powered mattress pad, thermal regulating cube(s) and a remote to control the mattress temperature for one or two sleepers. This product is notably at a higher price point, and understandably so. With it, you can either heat or cool your bed from 55-115°F (13-46°C) in just a few clicks of a button! 
 
Compatibility: full, queen, king, and California king beds 
 
Cost: from $499

Sleep Crown Over-the-Head Pillow 
For those that experience anxiety, stress, or tension – especially before bedtime – it might be helpful to invest in an all-natural over-the-head pillow. The Sleep Crown is handmade with premium Bamboo Jersey and Vegan Down, and it contours gently around the face to help block out light and ambient noise. The gentle pressure from the pillow instantly calms the nervous system so that you’re relaxed enough to fall and stay asleep. 
 
When you purchase a Sleep Crown Pillow, you also have the option to add Pillow Mist – a light blend of Lavender, Sandalwood, Roman Chamomile and Lime. Aromatherapy notably helps promotes calmness and is another simple step that you can add to your bedtime routine. 
 
Cost: $159 for the pillow, and $11 for the pillow mist

FOR A LIMITED TIME: save 10% off your purchase when you use coupon code “BIOHACKED” on sleepcrown.com 

When it comes to physical fitness, personal goals can vary widely. For example, some people may want to lose weight or gain muscle, while others may want to gain weight and/or improve their athletic performance. Adequate rest and recovery also play an important part in becoming more physically fit. Here are some gift ideas that support different goals:

Biostrap
This is the second wearable to make its way onto our list, and for good reason. Biostrap is really the first of its kind to offer full-body research-grade biometrics 24 hours a day with the use of both a wristband and a shoe clip. While Biostrap does offer sleep analysis, its fitness features are truly more prominent, as it’s capable of classifying more than 20 different physical activities (including but not limited to running, swimming, kettlebell swings, cycling, and bicep curls). You can also record any repetitious exercise once and Biostrap will automatically detect and analyze it for your future workouts. Tracking every move is something that biohackers can’t help but love 🙂

Cost: from $175

Egoscue Method 
Being mobile is a crucial aspect of being healthy, but for the millions of people in chronic pain, their conditions are often connected to the misalignment of major joints. They might lean to one side or have a shoulder or hip that is lower than the other. Any type of misalignment can lead to improper weight distribution and uneven load bearing on the lower extremities. This can eventually affect the entire body and negatively impact quality of life. The Egoscue Method helps you rediscover the body’s proper alignment and provides individualized exercises that help you eliminate structural dysfunctions and pain. It is particularly effective for alleviating: Back Pain, Shoulder, Elbow, and Wrist Pain, Hip Pain. Migraines, Knee Pain, Plantar Fasciitis, Ankle Pain, and Jaw Pain. 
 
What’s really cool about Egoscue’s programming is that you get to choose what kind of therapy works best for you and your lifestyle. They offer in-clinic sessions (available in 8 or 16 visit packages) in several cities across the U.S., as well as digital therapy via Skype or Facetime, or online therapy, which simply involves corresponding with a certified Egoscue therapist via email. (For the sake of accountability, we recommend the in-clinic sessions if there’s a clinic available nearby!) 
 
To learn more about Mastering Posture, Pain and Performance, check out this interview with Brian Bradley, VP of Egoscue, and Dave Asprey. And just because Brian is the VP, and he travels all over the world with Tony Robbins, that doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out to him for more info! If you or someone you know if suffering from chronic pain, please consider giving the gift of relief by setting up a consultation with Brian and the Egoscue Method team.  
 
Cost: dependent on location, form of therapy, and number of sessions

Either email Bbradley@egoscue.com, or call (800)995-8434 to set up a consultation.

Jym Protein 
As we mentioned earlier in this post, everyone has their own fitness goals. For those that specifically want to gain weight and increase muscle mass, the type and quantity of protein that you consume is key. Whey, casein, and egg are the best protein sources for growth, as they are derived directly from animals. (Collagen is a plant-based protein that is better suited for keeping joints strong, supporting strong bones, and keeping your skin hydrated.)

Jym offers pre- and post-workout protein powders that include whey, casein, and egg. These protein powders are especially effective because they are fast, medium, and slow metabolizing. In other words, they provide your body with 24 hours’ worth of fuel – especially if you’re drinking them to enhance regular meals in addition to consuming them before and after workouts. 
 
Cost: from $16.99

Aging is a universal phenomenon, and for centuries, people have experimented with many different beauty products (e.g. masks, oils, peels, treatments, and moisturizersand routines in the effort to find the so called “fountain of youth”.  But aging gracefully doesn’t come down to a single secret, ingredient, or practice; it typically multifaceted and involves eating a clean and healthy diet (first and foremost), and then being mindful about putting natural products directly on your skin (which is the largest organ of the human body). With that said, here are some of our favorite beauty and anti-aging products that can help protect, restore, and rejuvenate your skin: 

TrueLight™ Energy Square 
LED light therapy, also commonly referred to as photobiomodulationLLLT, or simply, light therapy, is a painless, non-invasive, and drug-free form of treatment that can be used to heal the skin and body. Different wavelengths of light notably have different penetration levels and capabilities. For example, near infrared (NIR) has a very deep penetration level; it can reach all the way down to the bone. This range of light is ideal for healing muscle tissue and bone. Red light doesn’t reach as far as NIR, but it works from the inside-out to enhance mitochondrial function in cells. So, red light not only assists with blood circulation and muscle recovery; it also has anti-inflammatory effects and can help reduce scars, wrinkles and fine lines. 

It’s worth highlighting these two specific ranges of light because they tend to be the most commonly used in light therapy devices. With that said, it’s important to choose a device that delivers the wavelengths that will give you the results you’re looking for. In a similar vein, the intensity (power) that your device emits toward the body also matters. According to Dr. Mercola and Michael Hamblin (a researcher and associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School) the ideal intensity of light is around 10-20 mW/cm2, depending on what you’re healing. More power is not necessarily better. In fact, it can product counteractive results that may actually do nothing for you. 

The TrueLight Energy Square is an attractive light therapy device for many reasons: 

  • Compared to most devices on the market, this one is affordable (especially when you look at the surface area that it covers)Instead of paying $60+ per session at a salon or doctor’s office, you can save money by purchasing this at-home device and using it at your convenience.
     
  • It uses a unique patent-pending combination of lights, including two different wavelengths of red (630nm and 660nm) for rejuvenation, NIR (850nm) for strengthening body tissues, and yellow light (580nm) for healing the skin. The yellow light is a key differentiator that works to help reduce redness (rosacea, irritationUV damage, and/or the appearance of blood vessels).  You can choose to either use all of these wavelengths simultaneously, or separately (Note that the NIR lights are always on while the device is on, but it won’t look like it because NIR is invisible to the human eye.)  As well as two different lighting modes: ?Steady for help in reducing pain and Pulsating to assist with cellular healing.
     
  • It also has two different light modes: steady and pulsed. It has been discovered that when LED lights are pulsed, body tissue can heal more rapidly. When it is given a continuous burst, it sedates the cell and stops the pain. When a single-frequency pulsed light hits the cell, it stimulates the cell to start producing more protein than it normally does, as a result, the cell heals faster. Even when the LED light source is taken away, the cell continues its healing. The continuous beam has a reverse effect that can remove/dull pain, reduce inflammation and allows muscle tissue to relax.
     
  • Biohackers will especially appreciate this point: This device was designed from the ground-up to minimize EMF radiation! For example, at a 6″ distance, the Energy Square emits absolutely no non-native EMF radiation; and even with direct contact, it only emits 0.6 milligaussThis amount is very negligible and considered safe. (For reference, every time your cell phone rings, it emits 9-15 milligauss.) Note that multiple design choices were taken into account during the design of all TrueLight devices to ensure their safety. One of the reasons they specifically don’t use fansfor instance, is because the EM coil in fans produce additional EMF radiation. 

Cost: from $389, or you can save on a full body solution for $1,550 (much more affordable compared to other full body light therapy solutions on the market today) 

Alitura Natural Skin Care Products 
Face creams, moisturizers, and clay masks have been used to heal skin for much longer than light therapy devices, but customers are often faced with a similar problem: there are so many options on the market that it becomes difficult to decipher which brand/products are best for them. When putting substances on your face, the key is to avoid toxic ingredients, as well as those that you might have an allergic reaction to. 
 
The top 10 ingredients that you should avoid when choosing skincare products include: parabens, phthalates, benzoyl peroxide, triclosan, petroleum, resorcinol, hydroqinone, oxybenzone, methylisothiazolinone, as well as artificial dyes and synthetic colors. Many of these chemicals have either been identified as skin irritants, carcinogens, or as hormone disrupters. Some of them may also lead to health concerns such as tumor growth, seizures, or thyroid disruption. When choosing a skin care product, it’s important to look for companies that are transparent about their ingredients, processing, as well as safety testing, so that you can make informed decisions. 
 
Enter stage left: Alitura – a grassroots company that uses ingredients that come directly from the earth, including but not limited to: freshwater pearl powder, L-ascorbic acid (vitamin c), grass-fed colostrum, American ginseng, green desert clay, and organic kelp powder. The company is notably anti-GMO and anti-chemicals; and by grassroots, we don’t just mean that the founder is leading the operation, but he was in fact the inspiration for its existence from day one. 
 
Andy Hnilo, a model and actor, was accustomed to earning a living based on his appearance until one day he was involved in a horrific accident that resulted in a compound fracture of his jaw, seven broken ribs, and a collapsed lung. Hnilo has stated, That accident turned out to be an absolute blessing in disguise, as it was the catalyst that rocked me towards my purpose of helping others feel better about what they see in the mirror. Out of pure necessity, I started creating our flagship product, The Alitura Clay Mask, during my healing period. Unimpressed with the products that his doctors recommended at the time for healing his abrasions and scars, Hnilo began researching all natural, nutrient dense, and mineral rich ingredients from the earth that he could use to heal his bodyMiraculouslyAlitura (which means “feeding and nourishing” in Latin) was born, and Hnilo was back on a runway in just seven weeks after his catalytic accident. 
 
Alitura offers night cream, moisturizer, facial cleanser, an anti-aging gold serum, a clay mask, and a derma roller. After those get you feeling all glowy, you’ll feel even better knowing that a portion of the proceeds from your purchase are donated to a children’s charity that helps bring smiles to kids’ faces. (Andy had some nerve damage after his accident that affected his smile and self-confidence, so he found a way to further incorporate social good into Alitura as it grew into the business it is today.) #AllTheFeels 
 
Cost: from $29, but if you can swing it, we *highly* recommend the Alitura Complexion Perfection Package for $185

Use coupon code “Biohacked20” on alituranaturals.com to receive 20% off of your order! 

With all the fad diets that exist, and the individual health needs of each person, sending food itself may not be the most effective gift. However, gift cards and saving money on groceries are always in!

Thrive Market 
Described as ”a membership with a mission”, this online marketplace aims to make healthy and sustainable products available for every budget, lifestyle, and geography. They really stand out because their product selection can be filtered by 70+ dietary and lifestyle needs! For an annual fee, members get 25-50% off retail prices on 6,000+ organic, non-GMO, and sustainable products. On average, they save about $30 on every order. (If you don’t make back your membership fee in savings in your first year, Thrive Market will credit you the difference when you renew—no questions asked.)

More good news: Thrive Market has e-gift cards available. Not only does this cover their first annual fee, but you can also add extra shopping credit to help them get started with their healthy grocery shopping. If you’re looking for convenience without the hassle of doing guess work and added shipping costs, consider getting them a membership that they’ll love!

Cost: annual fee of $59.95

Your brain is your body’s most valuable health asset. Not only is it responsible for keeping your body functioning, but research suggests that proactively taking care of your brain may reduce your risk of developing dementia later in life. Brain health also affects your mood, decision making, and mobility, so it’s very important to make sure that you nourish and protect this organ at all ages.

Tru Niagen ® 
NAD is an essential resource for cellular health and energy production; but as we age, we lose up to 50% of our NAD levels (between the ages of 40 and 60) because the body isn’t able to replace the cells that die as quickly with new ones. When NAD levels are low, you’re unfortunately at greater risk of experiencing health issues, including neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington disease).  
 
Tru Niagen® is a supplement that essentially works as an NAD booster. Its active ingredient is nicotinamide riboside (NR), a unique molecule which has been scientifically researched to sustainably support NAD levels in our cells. The company claims that taking two pills per day can increase your NAD levels by as much as 40-50% after just 8 weeks. 
 
Cost: from $30/mo *dependent on number of bottles and frequency of purchase

Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil
The brain cannot?store energy, so it needs a constant input from somewhere else in order to maintain energy levels.?This stream of energy is typically supplied?by glucose that is found in the blood. When your blood sugar gets low your body has a backup system (like a generator for your house), in which your liver can break down stored body fat to produce?ketones. 

Ketones are able to easily cross the blood-brain barrier and provide instant energy to the brain. And while you?can?provide ketones for your brain by eating a very high-fat, low-carbohydrate?ketogenic diet (the Bulletproof diet is considered a cyclical modified version of the Keto diet), you don’t necessarily have to.  

That’s where coconut oil comes in, specifically MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil.? The medium-chain fats found in MCT oil provide a simple and safe method of raising the blood level of ketones, which essentially provide a?convenient?workaround for giving you a boost of energy (NCBI). 

There are four different types of MCT oil, which are distinguished by the type of acid they contain: C6 (Caproic acid), C8 (caprylic acid), C10 (Capric acid), and C12 (Lauric acid). Brain Octane is Bulletproof’s branded version of C8, which is the most effective and purest form of MCT oils available. It also produces keytones the fastest compared to any other type of fat (in under five minutes)Keytones notably can’t be stored as fat, unlike carbs and sugar, so if you’re looking to eliminate fat, boost energy, and brain power, MCT oil can help. Continue reading here for some tips on how to use MCT oil every day. 

Cost: from $24.95 for full bottles, or $18.95 for convenient GoPacks (15 count) 

Between work, family, relationships, and health, life can feel?pretty?stressful?and?complicated?at?times.?That’s why it’s incredibly important to find?safe and?sustainable?methods of?aiding?stress,?exhaustion,?and/or?aches.

Knock Knock Self-Therapy Pad
Knock Knock is known for bringing humor, creativity, and smarts to everyday life. They have created thoughtful ways of helping people communicate, even if it’s as simple of going through a checklist and making sure that someone understands how they are feeling in the moment and why.  This self-therapy pad is the perfect gift for friends and family who aren’t perfect, and those who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves sometimes.

Cost: $7.99, or buy 3+?Classic Pads? of any combination and the price drops to just $6.00 per pad! 

Zen Float Tank
Research shows?that?meditation?can?have?neurological benefits for the brain and human health, such as inducing a sense of calm. More specifically, meditation reduces activity in the brain’s “Me Center”?— the place?responsible for mind-wandering. This thought-to-thought behavior?is?often?associated with?feeling?less happy?and worrying about the past?or?future. Dialing down the rumination that is happening in the brain can?help?people overcome fear and worry.?

Float therapy,?also known as?“sensation deprivation” or “floating”,?is one form of meditation that?has proven to be?an effective tool?for?minimizing?pain, reducing?symptoms of?anxiety,?depression?and insomnia,?lowering?blood pressure,?and more.  While most float tanks are in the $10K-30K mark,?Zen Float Co.’s latest and greatest float tank?only?costs $5K and?comes with a handful of features that make it more efficient than standard tanks, such as: 

  • A fully inflatable?and?portable design made from drop-stitch technology (similar to?inflatable stand up paddle boards and kayak)? 
  • Greater insulation due to all the layering, making it 40% more efficient?(which saves you money on monthly costs)?
  • 2 radiant heating pads, a digital temperature controller, and a high-powered UV filtration system to keep your water heated and cleaned and all times? 

Cost: from $4,200

*The Float Tank Complete Package (Version 1) is currently on sale for just $2,750.

40 Years of Zen™
Building on the idea of using meditation to take more control over your thoughts, emotions, and actionsneurofeedback can also be used to “train your brain” Note that the brain mediates our perception of the world around us. In other words, every emotion, thought, and sensation we have corresponds to activity happening in each of our own brainsThis activity is what drives our ability to pay attention, to keep our emotions in check, and make rational decisions.?

Neurofeedback involves using real-time displays of brain activity to help self-regulatbrain functionIt can be used to address a wide variety of goals, including but not limited to: self-development, emotional balance, attention training, peak performance, sleep, mood and perspective, overcoming trauma, or any combination of these. 

40 Years of Zen is a unique program that essentially empowers you to hack your inner peace by leveraging neurofeedback and working with a dedicated team of neuroscientists. It is not cheap to attend this five-day program; however, we’ve included it on the gift idea list because many biohackers strive to be the very best version of themselves40 Years of Zen is designed to help people master 40 years of meditation and ultimately feel free of life’s stresses so they can do just that.  

Cost: $15,000 (not including transportation and lodging) 

Environmental wellness?is directly related to the surroundings you occupy. This dimension of health connects your overall?well-being?to the health of your?environment (both social and natural surroundings). Your environment can greatly impact how you feel and show up in the world. Here are some products that you can feel good about purchasing (for you or for others) because they are produced with sustainability and the Earth’s longevity in mind: 

Branch Basics
There are toxins everywhere – so many, we can’t control them allWhat we can control is what we bring inside our homes; and no, we don’t have to sacrifice “clean” for “green”!

First, a quick look at some of the worst toxic offenders that are commonly found in household cleaning products: phthates, perchloroethylene (PERC), triclosan, quarternary ammonium compounds (QUATS)butoxyethanol, ammonia, chlorine, sodium hydroxide. Some of these substances are irritants or can be corrosive. Others have been associated with sever liver and kidney damageas well as hormonal dysfunction. When purchasing household cleaning products, it’s important to find products that are safe for humans, and preferably not harmful to the environment. 

Branch Basics offers ONE Concentrate that replaces virtually all cleaners for the house. This multipurpose solution is 100% plant-based and has an active enzyme-based formula that utilizes the best raw ingredients to make a non-irritating (alkaline pH) soap that has live enzymes to maximize cleaning power. Ingredients include: Purified Water, Coco Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Organic Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Decyl Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Sodium Citrate (Food-Grade Emulsifier), Lauryl Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Sodium Bicarbonate (Food-Grade Baking Soda), and Sodium Phytate (Plant-Based Antioxidant).

The Branch Basics Concentrate is not only human safe, its also versatile, effective (for removing stains, breaking down grease and oil, and replacing other toxic cleaners), and sustainable. Instead of selling one-time-use bottles, each reusable Branch Basics bottle replaces dozens of conventional spray bottles over its lifetime of use. This also helps you conserve energy and save on additional shipping costs (so it’s a smart option for your wallet too!). 

Cost: from $49 

BeeKeeper’s Naturals
Since 2006, North America has seen a drastic decline in bees with approximately 25-30% of colonies collapsing every year. This phenomenon, where a colony’s worker bees abruptly disappear, is called Colony Collapse Disorder. There may be multiple causes for this, but many researchers are blaming pesticides – not just near the hives, but also inside of them. 

Why does this matter? Bee-cause…though small, they are mighty; bees play a vital role in our global ecosystem, with thousands of plant, animal, and insect species relying on them for survival. In fact, the pollination from honeybees impacts nearly 1/3 of our entire food supply (including almonds, apples, oranges, tomatoes, onions, avocados, garlic, and coffee)! 

Why support Beekeeper’s Naturals (BKN)? Well, in doing so, you’re also doing your own health a huuuuuge favor. Between their raw honey products, throat sprays, raw bee pollen, and jelliesyou have a full arsenal for protecting your immune health, fighting brain fog, improving focus and productivity, as well as fighting fatigue. Beyond that, BKN does a lot to spread awareness about the current state of bees and raises funds to help support safe and healthy harvesting practices. They work exclusively with small scale green beekeepers on remote farms throughout the Canadian North who have over 5 miles surrounding area of organic grounds (bees forage for up to 5 miles so they ensure the bees have pesticide free food sources.) BKN also sources raw ingredients from their partner apiaries and they have a lab to create and test their products for human consumption. 

BKN is a certified B corporation  business that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. In their mission to #SAVETHEBEES, they have officially partnered with two of the leading bee research institutions to support pollinator protection—The University of California Davis Honey Bee Research Facility?and the?Canadian Bee Research FundAccording to their website, 10% of all profits from BKN’s apparel line gets donated these charity partnersBut it’s more than just money; simply wearing a t-shirt or hat with intentional messaging can help spread awareness and create action to further save the bees and our ecosystem.

Cost: from $4.50

Use this link to save 10% off your purchase from BKN!

Traveling is often said to be “good for the soul” because when you open yourself to new surroundings and experiences, you’re creating more opportunity for personal growth (e.g. awareness and creativity). It’s also a great way to do a personal reset for your mind and body. With that said, traveling can be stressful on both the body and the environment, especially if you don’t plan ahead. To get the best experience possible while traveling, here are some awesome products that can help any traveler make the most of their time (and space) away from home.

que Bottle 
(Not so) Fun fact: Every minute one million plastic bottles are purchased worldwide, and 91% of all plastic isn’t recycled.  The good news is that there has undoubtedly been a growing trend toward using reusable bottles as opposed to one-time use water bottles that are a waste of plastic and harmful for the environment. There are now many different types of reusable options on the market, but our new favorite is que. 
 
Designed to save space for what matters, que bottles are 100% plastic free and perfect for the avid traveler because they are lightweight, compact, and stylishWhile on the go, you can just fill the bottle up; and once you’re done, it collapses down to about half of its fully extended size. No need to spend money on more bottles or worry about recycling; que offers a sustainable solution that is ideal for an adventurous lifestyle. These bottles come in lots of colors too! 
 
Cost: from $24.95 

EMF Radiation Protection Pouch by DefenderShield® 
While on the go, use this EMF Radiation Protection Pouch?to protect yourself from EMF radiation while keeping your cell phone or other device secure and accessible. This pouch notably?blocks up to 100% of EMF (including cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth radiation) emitted by electronic devices without affecting cellular service or connectivity. 
 
Cost: from $34.99

Stasher Bag 
Tired of packing extra baggies for your trips? We get it. Most plastic bags can rip easily, and sometimes they aren’t airtight, so your snacks go bad anyway. The other huge downside is the excessive amount of plastic that gets thrown away after just one use. 
 
There is unfortunately a recurring theme of non-eco-friendly habits when it comes to travel…until now. Introducing: Stasher, an airtight, reusable silicone bag that you can cook, store, and freeze. It looks like a sandwich bag for scuba divers, but you won’t need a scuba license to master it.  This durable tool is perfect for travelers who want to pack healthy snacks with them on their trips, without worrying about the bags or food getting damanged. Stasher also gets bonus points for helping to prevent single-use plastics from piling up in landfills and polluting our oceans! 
 
Cost: from $14.99 

Looking for a little bit of everything above? Be sure to check out the Biohacking Box. This is a quarterly subscription box filled with health and wellness products that are hand-curated by Dave Asprey. The products in each box typically fall within the following categories: circadian health, light therapy, cosmetics, fitness, emf protection, nutrition, and home care. No matter where your friend or family member is on their health journey, they’ll enjoy getting the Biohacking Box on their doorstep every couple of months! Also, when you subscribe to Dave Asprey’s Biohacking Box, you also get exclusive insights and offers on some of the latest and greatest biohacks to reach the market!

Cost: $100 per box

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Finding Your Zen In a Highly Stimulated World

WooosaaahBetween work, family, relationships, and health, life can feel pretty stressful and complicated at times. That’s why it’s incredibly important to find safe and sustainable methods of aiding stress, exhaustion, and/or aches. 

Research shows that meditation — the practice of staying present and mindful, even if only for a few minutes each day – can have neurological benefits for the brain and human health, such as inducing a sense of calm. More specifically, meditation reduces activity in the brain’s “Me Center” — the place responsible for mind-wandering. This thought-to-thought behavior is often associated with feeling less happy and worrying about the past or future. Dialing down the rumination that is happening in the brain can help an individual overcome things like fear and worry. 

Studies have also found that meditation causes an increase in cortical thickness throughout key areas of the brain, which positively affects learning and memory, and helps regulate emotionsIt can also cause a decrease of the brain cell volume in the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress.  When we meditate, we have more control over our emotions and have a better grip on our decision-making. This allows us to experience a greater sense of calm, clarity, and focus in our lives.

Introducing: Float Therapy

Float therapyalso known as sensation deprivation” or “floating”, is one form of meditation that has seen exponential growth within the last few years and is one of the fastest growing niche industries in the country. It has also proven to be an effective tool for minimizing pain, reducing symptoms of anxietydepression and insomnialowering blood pressure, and more. This is made possible by reducing how much sensory input the brain and nervous system receive. You can think of float therapy like a timeout from the world’s stressors; a form of relaxation that offers rest, focus, recovery, reprieve, and exploration.

How It Works

A sensory deprivation tank is a dark, soundproof tank that is filled with a foot or less of warm saltwater. This is what helps you float calmlwithout needing to tread water. Float therapy tanks are designed to cut off all sensory inputs, including sight, smell, sound, and touch. That means: 

  • No lights 
  • No sounds (i.e. music) 
  • No notifications from your phone 
  • No guided meditations 

Floating sessions typically last between 60-90 minutes. This time is used for: 

  • Meditation, thought processing 
  • Relaxation
  • Athletic and muscle recovery 
  • Pain relief 
  • PTSD therapy 

At the very minimum, it’s an escape from the over-stimulating world that we live in… No sound means no constant alerts and messages. No brightly lit screens. No sense of gravity means relaxation for the postural muscles.  

Floating is a personal experience and you should treat it as your own journey. During your first few floats, you might find yourself losing track of time and falling asleep – total relaxation and the comfort it comes with will do that. It is recommended that you have a meditation plan, or a work or life topic that you’d like to focus on when you enter the tankJournaling afterward is although a welcomed exercise to help capture your thoughts and realizations. 

Revolutionizing How People Experience the Benefits of Floating from Their Homes 

It’s worth noting that a single float therapy isn’t cheap, a single session can cost $60 or more. If you floated just once per week, that’s over three-thousand dollars per year that you’d have to budget for float spa visits. If you’ve never actually tried floating before, then we do recommend budgeting for at least 3 sessions to really get a sense of what works for you, and how you feel afterwards. If you want to continue floating thereafter, then we highly recommend considering an at-home float therapy solution that you can keep for decades to come.

 Zen Float Co. (Zen for short) is one of the leading at-home float therapy providers. Compared to other at-home solutions, they offer affordability and comfort that goes unmatched. While most float tanks are in the $10K-30K mark, Zen’s latest and greatest float tank only costs $5K and comes with a handful of features that make it more efficient than standard tanks, such as: 

  • A fully inflatable and portable design made from drop-stitch technology (similar to inflatable stand up paddle boards and kayak) 
  • Greater insulation due to all the layering, making it 40% more efficient (which saves you money on monthly costs) 
  • 2 radiant heating pads, a digital temperature controller, and a high-powered UV filtration system to keep your water heated and cleaned and all times 

Zen can also ship their tanks worldwide wide – a huge plus, especially because float therapy is already very popular outside of the United States. 

When to Float

Like any journey, the timing is up to you. Some people prefer to float after a long, stressful day at work to help them relax and process. Others prefer to float in the morning so they can strategize their day and the challenges they want to take on. Athletes may opt to float right before a big game or event to visualize their performance, some float after to use the muscle relaxation for recovery, and some do both. The holiday season is also a great time to float because this is when many people tend to be juggling different stressors – finances, family, holidays themselves, etc. Sensory deprivation can be especially helpful during this time regarding stress management, mood, and being present. The good news is that you don’t have to wait for the New Year to start a healthy habit; you can finish your year off strong and get one step ahead of everyone who waited!

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Why Non-Toxic Products Are So Important For Growth and Development

Written by: Megan Whitaker, Holistic Living Consultant and Environmental Health Expert

Kids need their own space. They also need a lot of stuff. No matter how minimalistic a parent may be, their children are going to require a sizeable list of non-negotiable purchases such as car seats and crib mattresses. But all that gear could be dangerous. In fact, it could be toxic. This guide will show you how to avoid chemical-filled products for kids of all ages. And it will explain why non-toxic children’s products are so important.

Everyday Chemicals

Here are a few quick tips for eliminating toxins from the air in your home:

  • Look for chairs, couches and rugs that have not been treated with flame retardants. Wool is naturally flame retardant and is a 100% toxin-free, safe solution all around. 
  • Add plants such as succulents and snake plants to your living space, as these can clean many of the VOCs and toxins from the air while increasing the oxygen available.
  • If your home has older carpeting that cannot be removed, you can still seal it with non-toxic and VOC-free sealer. This helps prevent the outgassing of harmful chemicals used in carpet backing, such as as formaldehyde, toluene, benzene, xylene and styrene. This is an effective and very economical way of making existing carpet safer for kids.
  • Upgrade the air filters in your home at your air exchange and consider investing in a free-standing air filter. Your filter’s Micro-Particle Performance Rating (MPR) should be between 1,500 and 1,900. For air filtration units, look for true HEPA filters and avoid ionizing air filters that produce ozone.

Before a child is even born, they begin absorbing chemicals from the world around them. In a 2004 study, 10 random umbilical cord blood samples from American newborns were tested by the Environmental Working Group, and more than 200 man-made chemicals were found in each newborn (Scientific American).  The research from this study indicates that infants are absorbing hundreds of chemicals while they still in the womb. Unfortunately, that is not too surprising, seeing how there are currently more than 80,000 industrial chemicals registered for use today in America. More than 60,000 of those chemicals were notably never evaluated for safety because they were introduced before 1972 and were grandfathered in — that is, just assumed to be safe since they were currently in use.  Only a small percent of the remaining chemicals have been tested for human safety on anyone, let alone on growing children. The chemicals in everything from furniture, toys, cleaners, beauty products and even clothing have likely not been tested.

Currently, manufactures are required to let the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) know before they begin making and selling a new chemical. But once that happens, it is up to the EPA to move forward with any testing, which is often time consuming and expensive. That is a major problem since the EPA must move to block or review any new compound or chemicals within 90 days of notification. If they do not do so within those 3 months, the chemical will automatically be passed, and manufactures may proceed.  The manufactures themselves are not responsible for testing or providing data on the safety of their chemicals unless it the EPA believes it poses some danger after it is already in use (NY Times). 

Kids Are at an Even Greater Risk

During development in utero, toxins and everyday chemicals can cause a host of immediate health effects and problems. Damage to a cell or to the DNA itself (when cells are rapidly replicating and differentiating into tissue and organs) can lead to serious issues and, sometimes, miscarriage. Fully grown adult have cell division, but not growth and change like infants and children. Damage to the body in childhood can lead to lifelong alterations in DNA and epigenetic changes that cause illness later in life. Many chemicals, such as BPA, are estrogenic-mimickers; the body reacts to them as if they were the hormone estrogen. High levels of estrogen or estrogen-mimicking chemicals in childhood is linked to numerous health issues including increased rates of breast cancer, testicular cancer and prostate cancer. For many years BPA was used in many baby products, including baby bottles.

Children and infants also more susceptible to everyday environmental chemicals because of their unique anatomy. They breath faster than adults, therefore taking in more air and pollutants.  They also eat and drink more in relation to their body weight than adults. The same chemical exposure can have significantly different effects on a 200 pound man versus a 20 pound toddler. 

Children are also, simply, just closer to the ground. Carpets and other types of flooring are often major sources of chemicals and pollutants. Chemical off-gassing from carpets is often one the most significant sources of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from carpet fiber and adhesives as well as VOCs from other areas that have fallen and settled to the floor.

The Very First Thing That Happens After Birth is a Baby’s First Breath

Indoor air pollution is a serious issue, but a fairly easy one to fix. The EPA conducted a study in 1985 showing indoor air quality was 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, regardless of where the homes were located. That was 30+ years ago (and the most recent one available through the EPA). As stated previously, carpets are a major source of toxic air pollution, or VOC’s. But all standard furniture, especially soft furnishing like couches, chairs and pillows, are often producers of VOCs.

At first glance, flame-retardants seem essential for new parents since they are designed to help slow or prevent the start/growth of fire. However, many studies have shown that these chemicals are actually linked to a number of health conditions, including but not limited to: cancer, reduced IQ, and hyperactivity (NRDC). California has now outlawed many of these chemicals on couches and children’s clothing due to these dangers.

Easy Air Fixes

Here’s a few things to keep in mind when it comes to keeping the air in your home fresh and clean:

  • Look for chairs, couches and rugs that have not been treated with flame retardants. Wool is naturally flame retardant and is a safe solution all around.              
  • Adding plants, such as succulents and snake plants, can clean many of the VOCs and toxins from your air while increasing the oxygen.
  • Old carpeting that cannot be removed can be sealed. It is an effective and very economical way of making existing carpet safer for kids.
  • Upgrade your air filters at your air exchange and consider a free-standing air filter. Your whole house air filter should have MPRs (Micro-Particle Performance Ratings) of 1500-1900. For air filtration units, look for true HEPA filters and avoid ionizing air filters that can produce ozone.

Getting Safe and Healthy Sleep

VOCs, chemicals and toxins do not take a break just because you’re in bed. In fact, mattresses are often made from petrochemicals and emit VOCs and chemicals vapor. They are also often treated with flame retardants. Infants sleep up to 18 hours a day with their noses just an inch from these mattresses. While preschoolers and young children spend half of their day in bed.   Several companies make organic and non-toxic mattresses for cribs, tots and adults alike. Look for organic wool or organic cotton mattresses with the following certifications:  

Avoiding Plastic

Plastic is everywhere. It’s cheap and easy and seems to be in every baby and kid product. Plastic is a petrochemical that is mixed with a variety of other chemicals to soften, strengthen, color and even scent the finish product. Multiple hormone disruptors, like BPA, are widely used to make plastic more pliable. PVC is another extremely common chemical in plastic products. PVC can release dioxins and highly-toxic phthalates into the air and has been linked to numerous health issues including birth defect, early onset puberty and liver cancer.  Plastic bottles, cups, utensils, toys and furniture dominate the market, but there are non-plastic options for everything from bottles and pacifiers to blocks and dolls.

Feeding Without Plastic
Pure silicone bowls and plates are a great option for little ones. Older kids might can take lunch to school with stainless steel bento boxes or tempered glass containers. Several companies make glass baby bottles. For nursing moms, you can avoid plastic with silicon hand pumps and glass storage jars. You can find non-toxic breastfeeding gear at Going Crunchy Not Crazy.

Playing Without Plastic
Remember that everything a kid needs that is made with plastic was once made with something else. Toy blocks, trucks, stackers, play kitchens, and even ride on cars are all available in wood. Many brands such as Manhattan Toy Company and Melisa and Doug offer a huge range of wooden toys, game and puzzles for all ages.

Infants
Pacifiers and teething toys are permeant fixers in the mouths of most babies. But there are plastic-free options here too. True rubber pacifiers like EcoPacifer and silicon pacifiers are great options. Wood teethers are fantastic because they are naturally slightly antibacterial. Raw wood is difficult for bacteria to continue to live on because wood pulls in moisture.

Watch Your Tech

Baby monitors have come a long way in the last few decades. What once was a one-way walkie-talkie is now a digital, wireless security system with built-in temperature gauge and the ability to pan across the room. But many of these monitors register quite high in electro-magnetic radiation and many use WIFI signals. There is not a lot of research on the effects of EMFs and WIFI on infants, and because wireless internet is only a few decades old there are no long-term studies. There are multiple studies that do show a direct effect, however, including one linking WIFI exposure of just one hour with reduced sperm motility. 

For parents and caregivers who care concerned or wish to be cautious, there are just a handful of options. The Gentle Nursery has a guide to low-EMF monitors

Screens and handheld devices have the same concerns. They are relatively new in the world and long-term effects are somewhat unknown, especially when they have been used since childhood. There have been some studies that show an increase in brain tumors linked to cell phone exposure, which is especially concerning with children because their skull is significantly thinner than an adult. Even for an adult, the recommendation is that a smart phone should not be pressed against the body. The instructions for an Apple iPhone state that the phone should always be kept about half an inch away from the body.

There are several companies that make shields for smart phones and hand-held devices such as Defender Shield

Children’s bodies are rapidly growing and changing. Surrounding them with the safest products and the cleanest environment possible is so important. Keeping a body health is much easier that healing a sick one. If you want help to find products, want recommendations, or need assistance cleaning up your home and environment, you can get more information on www.goingcrunchynotcrazy.com.

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Responsive Kinetics: Not Just For Elite Athletes

By Matt McFall, Founder of FasTwitch Kinetics

I’m excited to introduce responsive kinetics training modality and its efficacy to all of you. We are all on a quest in life and for each the depth of that quest will change, morph as we discover ways to enhance our lives and have a positive effect on our wellbeing and longevity. Sometimes the impact is such that we find we cannot just keep it to ourselves! That’s what Responsive Kinetics is for me and others, but it’s still not well known by the general public. My “why” for bringing this to this forum is simply this, “Increasing the quality of life through increasing mobility”. This is a fundamental component of quality of life. People must be able to move to have access to everything from regular daily activity to high level athletic pursuits. At any level in that spectrum we engage in a variety of physical activities. Exercise or training are activities that give us access to many other activities. Often, this may be seen as applying primarily to athletics, but it is applicable to every level of life. Responsive kinetics training is a performance enhancer that works wonders at every level of the activity/exercise/training range. It is particularly suited for some populations who are missing out or underserved by traditional modes, including but not limited to:

  • The aging population who experience diminishing muscle and bone mass
  • Those with chronic injuries aka wear and tear
  • Those who are on the rehabilitation track from catastrophic injury
  • Those with progressive nerve and muscle disease

There is of course those of every age who are interested in reaching a higher level of fitness and increasing abilities in their recreational pursuits. We are naturally designed to move. It is important and necessary to address movement outside of what is required for our functioning. There is no shortage of evidence as to the effect of forfeiting our options to move. It is difficult and sometimes impossible to return and restore once that capacity is lost.

Introducing you to responsive kinetics will have in mind all of this spectrum of activity and its pursuits and the populations alluded to above. I will endeavor to stay away from technical jargon and the science that defines the topic, but it is impossible to leave it out completely. With that said a bit of groundwork must be laid to paint the picture as clearly as possible.

All training, whether physical or mental, revolves around one universal principle known as the SAID principle.

Spelled out as the Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand, it points the way to mapping out a training regime to achieve a certain goal. Everyone who has worked with a trainer knows the starting point is to evaluate your:

  • perspective
  • readiness to engage
  • what level (of mobility) currently defines you
  • what your expectations are

It is well documented how any given method of training, be it flexibility, aerobic, anaerobic, resistance and the myriad of “blended” versions will affect the physical body over time.  Changing up the parameters of your training can help you continue to make “gains”.  There are of course limits when it comes to the mode of training and pushing your body, but with consistency you will reach and set new goals over time. This is when it’s important to narrow your focus on modes of resistance training, but it must be pointed out that there is resistance involved in all physical training. This is a systemic resistance that relates to the elasticity of the mechanism as well as to the sensory information that affects system management.

Resistance training has certain limitations that are due to the parameters of training environment. 

An important aspect of this is seen in free weights and, to a lesser extent, in weight machines.  That is that the weight must be controlled back to its resting position.  In the case of free weights, the performer is carrying the full burden of that safe return as well as their safe completion of the movement. If something is amiss, that is, there is some functional miscue via an injury or some weakness that causes form to be compromised, or a distraction that causes a lapse in focus there is opportunity for injury. If we are talking about someone between the ages of 50 – 70 years old, and/or who are experiencing declines in muscle mass and activation, then the occurrence and significance of this type of training set back is a much larger issue. Conditions that promote possible injury are not age-specific though, and some people do not engage in important resistance training as a result. Of course machines help mitigate this problem somewhat but do not completely remove the possibility of injuries taking place.  Likewise, this can hold true for injured athletes, and for individuals with varying degrees of neuromuscular challenges.

Contrasted with these forms of training we consider the training environment of responsive kinetics. In this category there are very few options so far which is something we certainly look to change. There is equipment that is referred to as isokinetic, there are kinetic accelerometers as well. The type of machine discussed here is known properly as a multi-joint iso kinetic dynamometer. These are machines which read performer input force and respond with an output force that remains constant with the preset controls throughout the full range of motion. To paint the picture further, imagine performing a squat where the resistance remains the same through the full movement in both directions. This means the performer is doing work through full range of motion whereas other forms of resistance training the highest percentage of work is only being done through the sticking point. This difference cannot be overstated.

The next parameter of this training environment is that the system is balanced. For the performer this means they are never responsible for management of the “load”. If they stop anywhere in the movement the system neutralizes. The risk of injury is negated. The only weight is their own body weight.

These unique parameters of training environment allow the performer to go significantly farther and achieve entirely different outcomes in a considerably shorter time frame. The unique training conditions allow the performer to move through the multi-joint movements at full effort through the entire range of motion in both directions. Read this again. This is why it is completely different and produces completely different outcomes or performance level. As a researcher at the College at Brockport under the direction of Dr. Christopher Williams, we utilized one of these machines to train and collect data on Rate of Force Development. Over the course of three years that part of the study of responsive kinetics involved several hundred participants. The only common denominator was no one had ever trained on this equipment. Data collection evaluated were from numerous pre and post tests done around a conservative training program of 8 sessions over 4 weeks. These tests included vertical jump, long jump T-test agility test and several balance tests performed on force plates, and Biodex balance platform. Electromyography was also part of pre and post test collection and done on the responsive kinetic machine.

So, what does happen when you train on this equipment? It is no exaggeration to say that you are igniting untapped resources of explosive power! Explosive power means the high use of the muscle fiber type referred to as fast twitch muscles. You may think that fast twitch muscles or “explosive power” are reserved primarily for athletes, but everyone is using them every day. Any movement you make that is deemed automatic is using this musculature. Movement that requires reflex or balance is accessing this musculature and nervous system pathways. It is easy to understand when speaking of athletes, but how many times have you put a foot wrong and had a “recovery” to remain stable? Often, we don’t recognize the availability of resources until they diminish. Training on responsive kinetic equipment places a demand on the neuromuscular chain (central nervous system, spinal cord, peripheral nervous system, skeletal muscles) it has not “seen” before. The response in the central nervous system is to map a solution to keep up with this new demand. That response is to fire fast twitch muscle first and to recruit transitive muscle fiber to respond more like fast witch muscle.  Other adaptations in the chain include changes in myelination, changes to proprioceptive apparatus (sensors in joints and muscle fiber that tell the body where it is) and changes to synaptic gaps and pathways.

What you notice depends on what you do for activities. If you are tracking any measurements of your activities, you will know somethings up quickly. Recall from the earlier peek into the study I had the privilege to work on we normally got feedback by the fourth session about something they sensed in their activities. An example of gains seen in the  study, vertical jump increases of 2 to 6 inches were recorded frequently.

There have been many sports stars who have used this equipment which has resulted in great achievements. Michael Jordan, Shaq, Lenny Kryzelburg, Holly McPeak, Jeff Henderson, Tori Bowie, and many others. Tim Grover uses one of these machines as a secret weapon in producing explosive power in short time frames because it is so effective. This is important at the elite level of sports since time equals significant amounts of money. Everyone wants results though and they would like to see results reasonably quickly. Since data is captured for every rep of every set on these machines, (se Fig 2) the practitioner can tailor the progression of work very effectively. Our experience in training athletes and in research has shown that results, that is physiological adaptations begin to be felt by the performer in 3 or 4 sessions. When we set up training blocks, we generally use a 10-session format with two sessions per week. Since there is very little eccentric loading there is very little muscle soreness. Generally, after 2 sessions there is none. In some cases, we have trained athletes in a more compact time span training every other day for a few weeks.  As stated earlier the populations where this is extremely valuable tool is much more far reaching than simply athletic pursuits. I believe that the aging population and those with neuro muscular challenges are the most needing of this technology. Hence our desire to scale our efforts. Significant changes occur in lives where real results in a reasonable time frame make a very big difference in quality of life through increased mobility. This affects the mindset as well and they work together to perpetuate a strengthening of the whole person.

For more information visit fastwitchkinetics.com or write us with your inquiry at ftkinetic@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you!

– Matt Mcfall, Founder of FasTwitch Kinetics

References

Pette, D., & Staron, R. S. (1997). Mammalian Skeletal Muscle Fiber Type Transitions. International Review of Cytology, 170, 143-223. doi:10.1016/s0074-7696(08)61622-8

Enoka, R. (2015). Neuromechanics of human movement. 5th ed. Champaign: Human Kinetics, pp.P255 – 267 Neural Control of movement; P205 – 251 Muscle and Motor Units.

Murray, D., Brown, L., Zinder, S., Noffal, G., Bera, S. and Garrett, N. (2007) Effects of Velocity-Specific Training on Rate of Velocity Development, Peak Torque, and Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21(3), pp.870-874

 Kawamori, N. and Haff, G. (2004). The Optimal Training Load for the Development of Muscular Power. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 18(3), pp.675-684.

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The Most Important Takeaways From #mbgrevitalize 2019

This past weekend, mindbodygreen held its 6th annual #mbgrevitalize event, and we were there to capture the magic!  This year’s theme was Longevity, Consciousness, and Community – in which hundreds of wellness leaders gathered in Dove Mountain, Arizona, to discuss what it really means to be conscious, to form meaningful connections, and to inspire lasting change in our communities.

Some of this weekend’s conversations were admittedly tough, but undeniably enlightening. And it’s doing the difficult work that helps us be and create the change we wish to see in the world.  Continue reading to learn some of the biggest takeaways from this year’s #mgbrevitalize.

For the first time since World War I, life expectancy in the United States has declined for 3 years in a row.

On average, life expectancy across the globe has been steadily increasing over the past several decades; however, reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that life expectancy in the United States has actually dropped for three consecutive years. This has largely been in part because of the country’s ongoing drug crisis and climbing suicide rates. This is notably the first time that researchers have seen this disturbing result in the U.S. since the 1915-1918 timeframe, during which World War I and a flu pandemic took place.

Here are the CDC’s most recent reports highlighting life expectancy and mortality rates in America:

Mortality in the United States, 2017

Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2017

Suicide Mortality in the United States, 1999–2017

People feel lonely because of social constructs and conditioning.

Loneliness is a universal yet relatively complex human emotion. It is typically associated with anxious feelings due to lack of connection or communication with others, and it has been shown to lead to poorer physical and mental health over time (NCBI).

So, what causes us to feel lonely?

The first time that most people experience loneliness is when their parents leave them alone as infants.  As they age, they may experience temporary loneliness in different contexts, such as going through a divorce, losing someone important in their life, or being outcasted from a social circle. The cause and severity of loneliness really varies from one person to another, as there could be social, mental, emotional, and/or physical factors at play.

Deepak Chopra, co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, and a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, argues that people feel lonely because of social constructionism – the theory that much of what we perceive as reality depends on shared assumptions (ThoughtCo).  Examples of social constructs include things like the concept of currency, which people have collectively given importance and value, as well as the self/self-identity (gender, age, sexual orientation, race, social class), which can affect one’s self-esteem.

Chopra insists that reality doesn’t exist; we are all having an individual human-specific experience. For us humans, subjective experiences occur in the form of sensations, images, feelings and thoughts (Deepak Chopra). While we were sitting in the audience listening to Chopra share his wisdom on the mainstage at #mbgrevitalize, we could feel his calm demeanor and see his gentle smile as he spoke. Unlike us humans, Painted Lady Butterflies have 30,000 lenses in each eye; if one of these butterflies were looking at Chopra on stage, they would see a kaleidoscope of moving shapes but would not have the same emotional connection or experience that the people in the audience had. If you put this into the context of a romantic relationship, subjective experiences often contribute to why couples may see a situation or event in their relationship differently.

The mind is an embodied and relational process that regulates the flow and energy of relationships.

Mental Illness is defined as thinking locally and acting as a separate self.

Chopra says that when we are babies, we are filled with curiosity and wonder. But as we age, and we become conditioned by social constructs, we begin to build a separate self—one that can fill us with anxiety, pressure and fear. But this separate self is not who you truly are.

This is the foundation for a science of consciousness, as consciousness is total freedom from conditioning and constructs. By having more awareness of your loneliness when it comes, you can acknowledge it and let it go.

Mind-altering substances may have a place in the wellness space, but it’s still out for debate.

Hallucinogens (drugs that profoundly distort a person’s perceptions of reality) have been studied in the U.S. for their potential healing benefits since the discovery of LSD in the 1940s. However, research has mostly stagnated since psychedelics were outlawed in the late 1960s. (APA)  Given the current state of drug use in America, there is a lot of controversy over whether or not mind-altering substances can actually be harnessed for good.

According to Cristina L. Magalhaes, PhD, and co-chair of a symposium on psychedelics and psychotherapy, “Combined with psychotherapy, some psychedelic drugs like MDMA, psilocybin and ayahuasca may improve symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. More research and discussion are needed to understand the possible benefits of these drugs, and psychologists can help navigate the clinical, ethical and cultural issues related to their use.”

The “Mind-Altering Substances and Wellness” session at this year’s #mbgreviatlize discussed what role psychedelic drugs should play in wellness. The panel included Holistic Psychiatrist, Ellen Vora, M.D., Physician, Molly Aloof, M.D., Whole30 Co-Founder and CEO, Melissa Hartwig Urban, and Wellness Advocate, Rich Roll.  It’s worth nothing that both Urban and Roll have had their own downfalls at the hand of drugs and alcohol, which ultimately served as the catalysts for each of their health journeys. They have successfully used their experiences to find their purpose in life: to help others live healthier and sober.

From a psychological perspective, there are both potential pros and cons when it comes to the use of hallucinogens for healing. Some people may experience breakthroughs while using these drugs that allow them to get un-stuck, overcome depression, and/or come to powerful realizations.  On the flip side, all it takes is one bad trip (frightening hallucinations or delusions that can lead to accidents) to put a person in serious danger.  If someone is predisposed to mental health issues, they are more likely to experience bad trips.

Keeping the current drug-use problem in mind, many people are getting hallucinogenic drugs off of the street because of the ease of accessibility.  It’s nearly impossible to know the quality of these drugs and where they originally came from.  “These [hallucinogenic] drugs are essentially medicines, and they need to be approached with the same gravity as pharmaceuticals,” said Vora.  If you are thinking of experimenting with mind-altering substances like LSD, PCP, or ketamine, it is vital that you consult with a doctor.  Remember: this is your brain that we are talking about, and you only get one. So, you need to be mindful of the possible side effects of hallucinogens, and how they can affect your life after using them. These drugs are not meant to be taken in isolation; it’s recommended that you have someone you trust by your side so that they can monitor you and keep you safe while you’re using the drugs.

From an economic standpoint, there’s high interest in commercializing drugs – especially if they are considered illegal and in high demand. Fun fact: In today’s pharmaceutical market, it often takes more than a decade and an estimated $2.6 billion to bring a new drug to market (Booz Allen). So, between now and the time that hallucinogens are officially launched to the public, more research needs to be done on how different types of halogens affect the brain, overall health, and decision making.  We also need a better understanding of how different dosages can impact people that have varying biomarkers (e.g. PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, etc).

The bottom line: there is so standard or single solution when it comes to using psychedelic drugs for healing. There is room for experimentation, but it needs to be done in controlled, safe settings so that researchers can continue to evaluate what dosages are appropriate for whom, and under what circumstances. Regulation that puts peoples’ health first, above simply making profit, will be of utmost importance. It will take conscious leadership of medical practitioners, as well as state and local governments to help make this happen.

Research shows that there are 9 key factors that affect one’s ability to heal from cancer.

There have been thousands of documented cases of “incurable diseases”, in which people have fully recovered from their diagnosis and reclaimed their lives.  Most of these case studies have revolved around people that have stage 4 cancer, but there have also been documented cases of healing from heart failure, autoimmune diseases, and HIV.

Were these people just lucky? Or did they play some kind of active role in their own recovery?

Kelly A. Turner, PhD, studies people who have experienced what she calls “radical remissions.” She’s written a book about them, and is currently working on a docuseries. What Kelly discovered is that the people who have achieved radical remissions don’t just sit in misery or wait for a miracle to cure them. During their healing process, they proactively made nine distinct conscious changes in their lives – only two of which are considered physical while the remaining seven are classified as emotional changes.

Here are the 9 key factors that Turner has identified as aiding forces behind radical remissions:

  1. Radically changing your diet.
  2. Taking control of your health.
  3. Following your intuition.
  4. Using herbs and supplements.
  5. Releasing suppressed emotions.
  6. Increasing positive emotions.
  7. Embracing social support.
  8. Deepening your spiritual connection.
  9. Having strong reasons for living.

Though there are no promises that following these tips will absolutely cure cancers or other illnesses, there is very interesting research that indicates cancer treatments may have better outcomes if they take a more holistic approach rather than just relying on surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation.

While recovery is important, prevention is also key to living a life of longevity.  Did you know: people on average go into a stressful state as much as 50 times a day?  This causes us to miss out on dopamine (an important brain chemical that influences your mood and feelings), and increases our cortisol levels. Often called the “stress hormone,” cortisol triggers the natural “flight or fight” response that has kept humans alive for thousands of years. The danger of having high levels of cortisol too often is that it means you are constantly in high-stress mode. If your body experiences chronic stress, then it will begin to break down over time (Premier Health).

“Chi” is a Chinese word meaning “life force energy”.  Some alternative medical practitioners believe that having low chi means that you’re too low on your life force, and that you’re more susceptible to being affected by illness and disease.  Turner says that having a strong sense of purpose in life can help draw more chi into the body. This may also help you prevent your body from becoming more susceptible to disease.

To live a long life, you should be like a gorilla that eats in Italy.

Ok, not literally, but eating lots and lots of plants is really good for you, and nutrition is directly related to longevity. Here are the top myths about longevity that you should be aware of:

Myth: The Mediterranean Diet is 100% healthy for you.

Fact:  More research needs to be done, but here’s what we know. This particular diet is based on the habits of people from Italy, Greece, and Spain. This part of the world is considered a blue zone area — blue zones are regions of the world where people appear to live much longer than average.  It includes the consumption of things like legumes, fish, fruit, vegetables, and olive oil. It’s that last ingredient that researchers think may be the key health-promoting part of the diet.

Steven Gundry, M.D. argues that the Mediterranean Diet is pretty healthy for most people to adopt, except that it includes foods that have lectins.  Lectins are a type of plant protein that can be found in almost all foods, but the foods that are believed to be highest in lectins include whole grains and legumes, and nightshade vegetables, like tomatoes, peppers and potatoes (Genuine Health). The problem is that our bodies have not adapted to the lectins found in these foods. They can be difficult to digest, toxic even (if not cooked properly), which negatively affects the microbiome and puts you at greater risk of disease.  Gundry says that you should focus on consuming plants that don’t have these lectins, as well as foods with high omegas, and olive oil. Lots and lots of olive oil! (People in Italy, Greece and Spain regularly consume an average of 1 liter of olive oil per week (12-14 tablespoons per day).

Myth: Animal protein is essential for strength and longevity.

Fact: Simply put, gorillas and horses disprove this. They only eat plants, and they are both strong and HUGE!

Myth: Growth hormones produce youthfulness and vitality.

Fact: Being smaller in size may actually help promote vitality, not being bigger. Gundry points out that most of the people who live in the Blue Zones are far shorter than average height. Women are also typically shorter than men. Research shows that they have lower rates of coronary heart disease than men and on average live about seven years longer (MindBodyGreen).

Myth: It’s important to consume iron as you age.

Fact: Iron is an essential metal for the body, but excessive iron consumption is dangerous for mitochondrial function and causes organ dysfunction through the production of reactive oxygen species (NCBI).

Myth: Milk does the body good.

Fact: Milk has huge amounts of insulin growth factor in it, which mother cows give to their babies to help them grow. Humans are the only species that consumes other animals’ milk, and humans on average are much bigger than they were decades ago. But humans are not baby cows!

Aging can’t be stopped, but the process can be slowed.

For the average person, genes account for 25% of longevity, and environment accounts for 75%.  As we age, we experience more “wear and tear”. Examples of wear and tear include, but are not limited to: exposure to and consumption of toxins, injuries, and sun exposure – all of which lead to instability of the genome (the genetic material present in a cell or organism) and DNA damage.  The problem is that our body’s repair mechanisms slow down over time.

Anti-aging facts you should be aware of:

  • The insulin-signaling pathways are responsible for blood sugar regulation, which is at the core of anti-aging.
  • Autophagy is like your body’s garbage disposal, it allows the cells in your body to cleanse themselves by removing unnecessary or dysfunctional components.
  • There are pathways that stimulate growth and other pathways that stimulate autophagy.
  • As you age, there should be a shift in habits from growth to preservation. In other words, it might be more important to focus on your diet as you get older, whereas working out the way you used to could be excessive strain on your body that adds more wear and tear.
  • NAD+ is crucial for cellular repair and mitochondrial maintenance.
  • According to Frank Lipman, “There isn’t really a magic bullet for anti-aging, but if there were one, it would be sleep.”

When it comes to preserving the body, remember this: our daily habits have the opportunity to have extraordinary effects on our health and longevity.

 

“Get more sleep, eat less, and love more.” – Robert Roundtree

Humanity is evolving.

A pessimistic view of the world narrowly focuses on the problems that exist, but despite what the news may say, the world isn’t all bad.  In fact, history shows that humans have taken great strides to improve social and economic conditions over the past couple of centuries, as well as access to greater technology, people, and experiences. For reference, check out this timeline of U.S. history:

  • 200 years ago (early 1800s), 90% of people lived on $2/day.
  • In 1865, slavery was abolished.
  • Nearly 100 years ago (1920), women could finally vote.
  • In 1964, Jim Crow Laws were abolished.
  • In 1983, the internet was invented. The World Wide Web was later developed in 1990. This meant that people now had access to information from all over the globe.
  • Smartphones were created in 1992, which resulted an entirely new and fast way to help people stay connected.
  • Since the early 2000’s, many businesses with a shared-economy model (such as Uber and Airbnb) have empowered more people to travel and share experiences with others on their own terms.

Here’s the now. Though there have been times of war and corruption, history shows that humankind has collectively been moving toward greater connection. There is undoubtedly a greater sense of what is morally right and wrong, and what defines conscious leadership.

According to John Mackey, Cofounder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, and coauthor of Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, conscious leaders:

  • Are passionate
  • Are service oriented
  • Are authentic
  • Have integrity
  • Hold themselves accountable
  • Have a high level of emotional intelligence
  • Inspire people
  • Mobilize energy
  • Cultivate self-awareness
  • Encourage growth in others and build confidence

Business is about people working together to create value for others.  In order to be a conscious leader, one must create a shared purpose (Whole Food Market’s is to nourish people on the planet), and always strive to find the win-win-win solution in any given business situation.

“Can you build a business based on love?” – John Mackey

Business clichés are notably often centered around sports, battle, or the ego – all of which reinforce the idea of focusing on the competition and contracting oneself instead of leading with an open heart and consciousness. When we lead with fear, we are at greater risk of destroying opportunities, relationships, sales, product launches, and employee morale.  That’s why it is essential to eliminate fear in business – in order to minimize the risk of short-circuiting love. The many faces of love include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Gratitude
  • Care
  • Compassion
  • Appreciation
  • Forgiveness