How Healthy is Your Room? (Part 2)

     In my last post, I discussed how I rearranged my room for greater health.  Here are a few more random considerations for your room’s health.

1. Electronics. 

f.lux takes a little getting used to, but it's can definitely help you get better sleep if you use your computer in the evening.  It removes the blue light from your screen and makes the screen more red and orange.

f.lux takes a little getting used to, but it's can definitely help you get better sleep if you use your computer in the evening.  It removes the blue light from your screen and makes the screen more red and orange.

     When I was recovering, I left all my electronics outside my room at night. Most electronics, even when they are off, emit some kind of electromagnetic fields (EMFs). While these effects might seem insignificant, they may add up over time.  Why not take the extra step for your own peace of mind? Store your computer, cell phone, ipod, and other devices in another room while you sleep.  Don’t use a cell phone for your morning alarm, use something battery operated and keep it on the far side of your room as far away from your bed as possible.  Don’t use your electronics late into the night and get an app like f.lux (which I’ve used for years now) to cut down on your blue light exposure.  When your body is recovering, it needs all the help it can get. The little stuff adds up!

http://justgetflux.com/

2. Organize Your Room. 

     There’s something about a clean room that makes it healthy.  In my ebook, I stress the importance of personal discipline for recovering from chronic illness.  This includes keeping your room (and perhaps other areas/rooms) neat.  There’s something health-giving about working, reading, and sleeping in a room that is not strewn with dirty clothes, misplaced items, piles of junk, and papers.  Often when we are sick, we can be prone to let these details slide.  But the simple act of keeping your room clean and organized has a positive impact on your disposition. It won’t cost you anything but a little time.  Don’t go crazy and completely reorganize your room tomorrow.  Start small.  Set aside 20 minutes per week to clean your room. Then add to that over time if needed.


3.  Clean Right. Clean Regularly. 

Healthmate Jr. and cold-air diffuser for essential oils

Healthmate Jr. and cold-air diffuser for essential oils

     Getting a high-quality HEPA vacuum cleaner is an investment, but certainly worth the cost.  I dust with damp paper towels to cut down on adding dust to the air.  Then after cleaning, it’s probably a good idea to either diffuse essential oils or run a high quality air filter (like and Austin Air Healthmate) to clean the air of any particles you kicked up in your cleaning. 


4. Flooring Matters. 

     When we had our house remediated one of major changes we made was to replace all our carpet with tile flooring.  All our bedrooms have no rugs or carpets in them.  That’s intentional.  Carpet, in addition off-gassing loads of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), quickly becomes a storehouse for mold spores, dust, and allergens galore.  Every footstep on carpet disturbs the storehouse catapulting unseen dangers everywhere.  Regular vacuuming only slightly mitigates this problem.  Tile is where it’s at.

How Healthy is Your Room? (Part 1)

Supplies (raw milk and broken keyboard optional) 

Supplies (raw milk and broken keyboard optional) 

This weekend I rearranged my room.  My original purpose in rearranging was increasing my room’s organization, but like many things I do, I considered my health heavily in the process.  Many do not realize there are simple changes they can make in their room’s layout that can greatly increase their health.  In future posts, I’ll write more about the details of some of these dynamics, but for now, here’s the process I used to rearrange.

Prep work

IMG_0008.jpg

The first thing I did was start up my cold air essential oil diffuser.  I clean my room and vacuum it every week and always diffuse essential oils afterwards.  This helps with the dust particles you’re bound to unearth as you move and clean.  I then made a quick list of the health factors I wanted to be mindful of as I rearranged everything.  The list was not necessarily in order of importance.  For some people, the list might be reversed.  Everyone is different.

EMFs

The first item on my list was EMFs.  I used the Gauss meter pictured to measure all directions and angles of the room.  Thankfully my room is very safe except for a few hot spots along the walls.  I have a Mac computer which doesn’t put off many EMFs, and then there’s my cellphone which is probably pretty bad.  I don’t worry about it.  (I’m recovered now; cellphone are a part of modern life, and I do enough good to counteract the bad.)  You should know that the Gauss meter only measures certain kinds of EMFs.  It does not pick up the types of EMFs emitted by cellphones and Wi-Fi very well.  So you’ll need to guess on those or pay for a more expensive reader.  Once I had the lay of the land, I knew EMFs would not be a major factor in determining the placement of my furniture.

Porous Materials

This is a huge factor for those who’ve had trouble with mold.  If you had mold in a previous location and you moved, or if you just have dust and mold allergies in general, then you’ll want to be mindful of where your porous materials are in the room.  For me this is clothes (which are all in the closet) and my bookshelf.  

Be careful where you place your books! 

Be careful where you place your books! 

Books collect mold spores and are extremely hard to remediate.  In this rearranging event, I finally threw away the only book I had left from the pre-mold house.  You never know what books have picked up.  Used books can be especially problematic.  Keeping books out of the room you sleep is a good idea if it’s possible.  



Clean clothes should not be a problem, but dirty ones may be.  If your work environment is not healthy, then work clothes should be quarantined.  I use a big plastic bin which is in my closet.  I’m not sure how healthy or unhealthy my work environment is, so I do this just to be safe.  I also keep my computer bag (which travels with me to work everyday) in my closet to keep it secluded from my room’s airflow.

Fresh Air

Outdoor air is very good for most people.  I’ve write about this in my ebook.   Sometimes my house is downwind from a water treatment plant so outdoor air is not always safe, but most of the time it is.  As I was rearranging, I wanted to think about where the window was and where the fresh air would be coming from.  I remember once when I was very sick, I slept with the window open one night and the next day I had SO much energy!  So this was another factor I considered.

Sleep is First

Once I had the lay of the land, I began considering the placement of everything.  The most important aspect of my room is where I sleep.  The time I spend sleeping is relatively short, usually just 4-6 hours a night.  My time spent in my room doing other things is greater than my sleep time. However, I still think sleep location is most important and should be prioritized.  

My bed was positioned as far as possible from the closet, away from the bookshelf, and as close as possible to the window.  A little quirky note: I’ve also heard that sleeping with your head pointed north actually has health benefits.  Somehow it’s healthy for your electrical alignment similar to the benefits of grounding.  I haven’t seen any evidence but it makes sense.  Thankfully, my closet is in the south side of the room so I can have my bed face north and be as far away from the closet.  If I was forced to choose, though, I’d put avoiding the closet above having my bed face north.

The bookshelf was placed as far away from the bed as possible and my desk was also placed further away from the closet and bookshelf.

There’s nothing super complex here, just a simple steps taken to provide the body with a safe haven of recovery.  You want your room to be a safe place for your body to rest and recover.  Little things like putting your briefcase in your closet and dirty cloths in plastic might sound insignificant.  Don’t be deceived!  These little steps add up over time.

Skip Your Supplements (For Better Health)

IMG_0430.JPG

One of the core principles of my approach to health is a focus on the body’s ability to heal itself and adapt to changes.  Supplements are a great way to strengthen the body’s ability to heal and adapt.  However, they can also contribute to an overall weakening of the body.  Just like some prescription drugs mask symptoms and weaken the body over time, supplements can do the same.  The body is notoriously lazy.  If you stop exercising, your muscles begin to shrink in just a few days!  If you take a drug or supplement of a substance the body naturally produces, the body will respond by making less of that substance.  Then, if that supplement is ever stopped, the body struggles to adapt to the change and greater problems can arise.

Kvass.JPG

While I was recovering from chronic illness, I was diligent with my supplements and this was probably important.  When the body is severely broken down, it needs all the help it can get.  But now that I'm two years fully-recovered, I’ve adopted a different approach.  When a supplement runs out, I don’t immediately grab a new bottle.  I wait several weeks (sometimes a month or two) before starting the supplement again.  Why?  I believe this strategy accomplishes the following:

1. Reawakens the body’s ability to do without the crutch.

Through removing the crutch for a period of time, the body is forced to do without.  Since the body is designed to compensate and adapt, it will do what it can with the resources it is given.  It will learn to conserve vitamins and stretch them further if faced without a shortage.  It will learn to compensate with substitutes in the absence of the ideal.  It will become more resourceful, when the resources are limited.  (See my ebook for more on this.)

2. Reduces or eliminates the body’s dependence on the supplement.

The longer I have done this, the less dependent I am upon the supplements I use.  This makes me more confident going on trips and leaving the supplements behind.  It gives me greater confidence in my overall health and makes me know that the supplements I do take are actually strengthening my health and not making it lazy.

3. Increase the effectiveness of the supplements.

This is just a hypothesis; I don’t know that this is the case.  It would seem, however, that this approach has the potential to make the body even more robust.  Take an antioxidant supplement, for example.  It seems like, after months of taking a mega-dose of a certain antioxidant, the body will become lazy.  It will no longer uses antioxidants as effectively since there is such an abundance.  But if the body is forced to remain effective in its use of antioxidants by periods of “fasting”, any supplement further boosts the body’s already robust effectiveness.  

If that wasn’t clear, think about it this way. Regular supplement fasting makes the body more effective, but constant use of supplements makes the body lazy.  Therefore, you can have an effective body with effective supplements or a lazy body with effective supplements.  It seems like the former would be better.

My favorite drug works this way.  LDN (Low-dose Naltrexone) works by blocking opiate receptors but only for a few hours.  In this time, the body continues to produce opiates but realizes that they are not being effective.  How does the body respond when it finds out its opiates are not working?  It tries to adapt by producing more!  This boosts the immune system.  So through removing something good from the body temporarily, it strengthens the body even more.  I think the same works with supplements.  Occasionally scaring the body into thinking it must do without supplements keeps the body leaner and meaner than ever.  It makes the supplements all the more effective.

4. To make one’s health more versatile.

Overall, the greater versatility the better, in my mind.  The more different scenarios you can train your body to handle the better.  Why not train it to be strong even without supplements?

5. Expose health issues.

IMG_0428.JPG

Supplements can mask problems.  If your GI track breaks down two days after stopping your probiotic supplement, perhaps your diet needs a little check.  Going without supplements can expose all kinds of things about your health giving you a better picture of exactly where you are and what you need to be working on.

6. To save money.

Nothing more to say here.  Less supplements = better health + better for the budget!  Sounds pretty cool to me!

What Supplements do you use? (Health in Smoggy LA)

My time in LA highlights well my general approach to health.  That is, do enough good so that your body is always healing.  Obtaining the best health possible is not my life goal.  My philosophy is more “just do what it takes to get by (plus some awesomeness for the top).”  When I first arrived in LA, I slacked off in many areas.  Here’s how:

  • I stopped grounding myself entirely.  (I wasn’t doing anything to protect against EMFs like walking barefoot or using earthing bands, etc.)
  • I stopped super foods, juicing, etc.
  • I began drinking tap (Brita filtered water.)  My friend in water filtration said Brita is like putting a sock over your tap.  Probably an exaggeration, but close.
  • My exposure to pollution wet way up.  LA and the surrounding area has thick smog.  A worst-nightmare-scenario for most suffering from MCS.  Even outside is not safe.  
  • I stopped all supplements.

This did not work out so well.  My health began to deteriorate and it was clear my body was not in a healing mode.  So I began to make changes.  And here’s what I ended up doing to compensate for all the bad environmental stuff my body was dealing with:

  • I added back grounding, a cheep, easy, non-life-limiting practice.
  • I added back some super foods.  Specifically, I added back raw egg yokes, some raw milk, veggie juices (occasionally), and raw liver (rarely).
  • I began drinking bottled spring water.
  • To compensate for the assaults on my lungs, I began diffusing essential oils 2-3 times per week. (Explained below.)
  • I added back some supplements.

Here was my list of supplements:

1.  Primal Defense Ultra.  I would guess I averaged about 6-8 per day of these guys.  As I explained in part 1, these probiotics rock.  I didn’t have any GI problems while there, but these guys are always a good idea, no matter how rock-n-roll your gut is.

2.  Cod liver oil—Blue Ice by Green Pastures.  Great stuff.

3.  Perfect Food by Garden of Life.  Every morning I drank a glass of this great green food supplement.  I mix in 2-4 raw egg yokes and my cod liver oil.  If I can’t have a meal, that alone is enough to keep me going for the day.

4.  Essential oils.  These are great diffused into the air.  In LA, I diffused two or three times a week (when I remembered to) with the following combinations:  Thieves (YoungLiving), Gray Matter Batter (Aura Cacia), and a mixture of frankincense, lemon, and lemongrass (Aura Cacia).  This seemed to be pretty important for keeping my energy level way up.

All this gave me good health for the rest of my 6 months living just outside the smoggy city.  I didn’t fret about going into the city once or twice a week.  There were some really bad days where I didn’t exercise and stayed indoors and I didn't do any running while I was there.  But during this time I consistently pushed my sleep, waking up at 4am or 5am and was able to function just like any other normal person.

During this time, I ate a very strict diet.  I’m usually strict anyway, but in LA, nothing processed, gluten, or dairy (except raw) entered my mouth.  (I take that back, I DID have four or five slices of Whole Foods’ Pizza.)  Healthy diet was important for me during this time.  If you’re breathing in lots of bad stuff, you’re better off not ingesting bad stuff too.  I didn’t feel constrained by my health, like my sickness was requiring me to return to Florida.  Back in Florida, my health is better only in that I can sleep less and I seem to be gaining ground faster in building strength/muscle.  Smog and all, I wouldn’t be afraid to return... and maybe I will some day.

“I’m in Los Angeles today. Asked a gas station employee if he ever had trouble breathing.  He said, it varies from season to season.” - Death Cab for Cutie, “Why you’d want to live here” lyrics