Antidepressant Use Connected To Antibiotic-Resistance Superbugs

The more fluoxetine an E.coli microbe is exposed to, the more likely that bacteria is to develop multidrug resistance, says a new study from the University of Queensland in Australia. What is fluoxetine, and why is this a big deal?

Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and the active ingredient in some of the world’s most prescribed anti-depressants like Prozac and Sarafem. E.coli bacteria were exposed to fluoxetine for 30 days in different concentrations. The bacteria were then exposed to antibiotics like chloramphenicol, amoxicillin, and tetracycline. The microbes exposed to the fluoxetine showed an increased resistance to antibiotics that was 50 million-fold higher than the experiment control. The more the bacteria were exposed to the SSRI, the more quickly the drug resistance developed. Jianhua Guo is one of the authors of the study.

Fluoxetine is a very persistent and well-documented drug in the wider environment, where strong environmental levels can induce multi-drug resistance…This discovery provides strong evidence that fluoxetine directly causes multi-antibiotic resistance via genetic mutation.”

Related: Sugar Leads to Depression – World’s First Trial Proves Gut and Brain are Linked (Protocol Included)

Ubiquitous Fluoxetine

Fluoxetine is an incredibly popular drug. Healthcare practitioners issued more than 28 million prescriptions for it in 2018. It’s almost always among the top 30 medications prescribed worldwide. It’s everywhere, and the link between the antidepressant and antibiotic-resistant bacteria could have serious consequences.

This study is a lab-based study, and it’s fair to wonder how the drug and the bacteria interact in a real-world scenario. Scientists don’t know. When a drug this popular has the potential to hasten the evolution of multidrug-resistant bacteria though, we need more studies.

In People

Most antidepressants are taken for longer than a year. But even a short period on fluoxetine can give harmful bacteria the time they need to develop resistance. Prozac takes longer to exit the body than other SSRI medications like Paxil or Zoloft. While those examples 99 percent out of the body after 5 and 6 days respectively, Prozac takes nearly a month. These medications “fix” problems by disrupting the endocrine system. A disruption like that allows infections to flourish in the body.

Related: How To Heal the Gut

Not to Be Depressing…

We’re not ready for the level of antibiotic-resistant bacteria developing in our society. We know that antibiotics fed to food animals are a major source of those developments. Yet U.S. farmers are still using antibiotics regarded as “crucial to human health.” The authors of this study found that triclosan, an ingredient in antibacterial soaps, causes antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Now antidepressants have been linked to multidrug resistance.

We aren’t taking confirmed causes of this health seriously, and we are constantly finding new potential causes we hadn’t even considered. It’s a recipe for disaster.

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Nitrates from Cured Meat Have Been Linked to Mania in New Study

No one mistakes hot dogs for health food, but a new study published in Molecular Psychiatry suggests that they might be even worse for you than previously thought, linking hot dog, beef jerky, salami, and processed meats to mania. Examining 1,101 individuals, researchers at Johns Hopkins noticed that the subjects who had been hospitalized for mania were 3.5 times more likely to have consumed cured meats. The same outcome did not occur with other untreated meats or fish. Researchers then fed rats nitrates in a dose equivalent to what a human would eat in a hot dog or beef jerky. The second part of the study confirmed that nitrates negatively impact gut bacteria and the brain. Dr. Robert Yolken, the lead author of the study and professor of neurovirology in pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says,

We looked at a number of different dietary exposures and cured meat really stood out. It wasn’t just that people with mania have an abnormal diet…There’s growing evidence that germs in the intestines can influence the brain…And this work on nitrates opens the door for future studies on how that may be happening.”

Related: How Farmed Fish Degrades Our Health and the Environment – Better Options Included

Needed Nitrates

This is not the first time nitrates have been mentioned in conjunction with serious health issues. Past studies have linked the compound with early death, an increased risk of cancer, and male infertility.

Nitrates are more complicated than that, though. Once they’re ingested, they’re turned to nitrites by your oral bacteria. From there these nitrites turn into nitric oxide or N-nitroso compounds. Nitric oxide is a free radical, protecting cell mitochondria, and relaxing blood vessels. Plants like celery, spinach, lettuce, onions, broccoli, and peas are excellent sources of naturally occurring nitrates that don’t turn into carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds, which are carcinogenic. This is because plants are excellent sources of vitamin c and polyphenols, which keep those compounds from forming.

Naughty Nitrates

Meat, on the other hand, has all the conditions needed for nitrites to turn into carcinogenic N-nitroso. There are no anti-oxidants or polyphenols. Meat also has higher quantities of protein and heme. Heme is an iron-containing compound found in hemoglobin and has been in the news recently as the ingredient responsible for the Impossible Burger’s meaty flavor.

Processed meats have nitrites added as a preservative and a coloring. They’re responsible for that pink color you see in so many lunch meats. The World Health Organization has classified processed meats as carcinogenic to humans since 2015. Cooking (especially over high heat) makes the numbers of carcinogenic chemicals worse, making hot dogs the worst (seriously, though, the worst).

Gut-Brain Connection

These researchers found a link between human mental illness and a food group. Then they manufactured the same conditions in rats to find an even deeper connection and a greater risk of long-term health conditions.

Related: Sugar Leads to Depression – World’s First Trial Proves Gut and Brain are Linked (Protocol Included)

Much has been made of our increasing mental issues. Mania is most commonly associated with bipolar disorder, and diagnoses of that disorder have been on the rise for over a decade. Young people have been hit especially hard. Yet the exact cause of that is unknown.

However, not enough attention has been paid to how crucial the gut-brain connection is. The enteric nervous system controls the function of the gastrointestinal tract and has been referred to as the second brain. It follows that what you fuel the gut with profoundly affects both brains. We are losing our the diversity of our gut bacteria at an alarming rate. We are beginning to see what happens when those microbes are permanently lost.

Related: Does Meat Cause Cancer? Yes and no…

How can we take care of this world, of anything else when we’re constantly on the verge of losing control of our own sanity? We often hear about mental health coping strategies or mental health tools for dealing with situations. Why is diet not one of those tools, indeed the very foundation? The gut dictates brain function. What does your brain food look like?

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How to Detox From Plastics and Other Endocrine Disruptors

The soles of your shoes, the fabric of your clothing, your contact lenses, your chewing gum, your phone, food containers, mattresses – all are made with plastic. It’s everywhere. It’s in our salt and it’s in our water. Plastic may be the most insidious and enduring product we’ve ever produced.

While plastic improves our daily life in countless ways, it is also suffocating our planet and causing catastrophic pollution, much of it hidden and microscopic. Just how bad is it?

Bottled water samples were collected and analyzed by scientists over a ten-month investigation. The study analyzed 259 bottles from 19 locations in nine countries across 11 different brands and found an average of 325 plastic particles for every liter of water being sold.

In one bottle of Nestlé Pure Life, concentrations were as high as 10,000 plastic pieces per litre of water. Of the 259 bottles tested, only 17 were free of plastics, according to the study.” – Drinking Bottled Water Means Drinking Microplastics

This study comes just after a damning study of plastic found in sea salt brands was published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports. They analyzed seventeen commercial salt brands from eight different countries on four continents for plastic particles. They found plastics in all but one brand.

Contents

BPA’s Replacement, BPS, Likely No Better

BPA is the starting material for producing polycarbonate plastics. We found out it leaches into the ground and water and causes all kinds of problems. Of course, the manufacturers denied and lied until the mounting evidence was incontrovertible. Then BPS was developed, and was a favored replacement; they thought BPS was more resistant to leaching. But BPS is leaching. Nearly 81 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine. Once it enters the body it can affect cells in ways that parallel BPA.

Microplastics, Endocrine Disrupters, and the Environment

Microplastics are most likely, to varying degrees, already in all of our drinking water and in all of our bodies. Microplastics absorb toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases and release those chemicals into animals that consume it, like fish and humans who eat those fish. Experts say since these fibers have been found in most of our water supply, they have to be in our food as well. From fish to organic vegetables, microplastics are everywhere. At this time, there is no known way to completely filter or contain them.

Plastic waste doesn’t biodegrade. Instead, it breaks down into smaller pieces of itself, down to the nanometer scale (one billionth of a meter). Science knows that particles of this size migrate through intestinal walls and travel to lymph nodes, glands, and bodily organs.

Plastic is toxic. It has been proven to cause cancer. It’s a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it screws up our hormonal system. Plastic weakens the immune system, metabolism, and affects people’s skin, weight, behavior, and much more.  Plastic particles will leach into food and drink and is also absorbed through skin and lungs.

Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are chemicals that mimic our own hormones. They bind hormone receptors and disrupt the body’s normal hormonal actions. Endocrine disruptors may cause a more powerful response than the natural hormone would have or a diminished response. In some cases, they cause a completely different response than its natural counterpart would have created. EDs are typically measured in parts per trillion, which is indicative of the fact that very small amounts can have a disrupting effect on us. EDs are very stable. They don’t break down quickly. This is, in large part, why they are in so many products. They also get stored in our fat cells. They tend to stick around for a long time.

The dangers of plastics have not been studied adequately, and the plastic industry has no desire or intention of doing so. A study looking into the effects of BPA on rat testicles found that lipoic acid exerted antioxidant effects that can protect against BPA damage. In the study, BPA was shown to reduce testosterone, testicular weight, protein content, antioxidant activity, and beneficial enzyme activity, while damaging the mitochondria. Fetal exposure to BPA has been associated with obesity, altered reproductive function, and cancers later on in life. BPA was accidentally discovered to be carcinogenic when medical researchers came to find that rats were getting cancer during a study for something else.  They found out that it was caused the BPA in the water bottles. And now we are supposed to trust BPA free plastics?

How to Avoid Plastic Toxicity

Many manufacturers have stopped using BPA to harden plastics, replacing it with “BPA-free” alternatives like the most common replacement, BPS (Bisphenol S).

Our research showed that low levels of BPS had a similar impact on the embryo as BPA. In the presence of either BPA or BPS, embryonic development was accelerated. Additionally, BPA caused premature birth.” –Nancy Wayne

You probably can’t avoid plastics. Even if you go to another planet plastic is going to take you there and contaminate that ecosystem. But you can limit plastic consumption and keep your body in a homeostasis state that detoxifies itself at all times.  And the good news is that with the right diet and a healthy body, BPA and BPS can be flushed out of your system quickly, some say within 24 hours. A properly working body can process and dispel a lot of toxins. An unhealthy body rids itself of toxins at a slower rate than the toxins are consumed and produced.

Ways to Limit Plastic Contamination & Plastic Use

  1. Keep your home clean, and vacuum regularly
  2. Filter tap water
  3. Always avoid artificial fragrances
  4. Stay away from warm or hot plastics, don’t even breathe near them
  5. Avoid canned foods
  6. Avoid conventional personal care products like shampoos, soaps, moisturizers, makeup
  7. Avoid conventional and big-ag produce (pesticides and herbicides have plastic residues)
  8. Cook your own foods using whole-food ingredients
  9. Stop using plastic straws, even in restaurants
  10. Purchase food, like cereal, pasta, and rice from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag or container
  11. Use paper or your own reusable shopping bags, bulk goods bags, and bring your own mesh produce bags (FYI: I suspect that many paper bags contain BPA and BPS)
  12. No more chewing gum, it’s made of plastic
  13. Buy boxes and glass instead of plastic bottles whenever possible
  14. Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages or coffee and soda refills (but you don’t drink that crap, do you?)
  15. Boycott any restaurant that still uses styrofoam – Why is that still a thing?
  16. Use matches or invest in a refillable metal lighter – avoid the plastic disposable ones
  17. Eat real, whole foods – fresh foods equates to less packaging and less previous plastic contact
  18. Don’t use plasticware ever, bring your own if need be
  19. Use cloth diapers – disposable diapers are extremely toxic to the environment and your baby
  20. Make your own cleaning products
  21. Pack your lunch in glass containers and reusable bags.
  22. Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor
  23. Find other disposal products that can be replaced by their non-disposable counterparts
  24. Avoid seafood
  25. Avoid cheap supplements and be wary of sports supplements

Also, Avoid BPA receipts!

Did you know that some receipts contain 250 to 1,000 times the amount of BPA typically found in a can of food?  If that isn’t scary enough, BPA transfers readily from the receipt to skin and cannot be washed off. Different types of receipts contain varying levels of BPA. If you aren’t sure whether or not a merchant uses BPA in their receipts, either ask directly or let them know early in the transaction that you will not need your receipt. Gas station receipts are particularly notorious for containing huge amounts of BPA.” – Home Maker Chic

How to Detoxify Plastic Byproducts

Make sure your gut is not leaking! See Gluten, Candida, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and Autoimmune Diseases for more on that.

To eliminate BPS, BPA, and other plastic residues from the body, one must also eliminate heavy metals and other toxins as well. Toxins tend to disrupt the endocrine system. The endocrine system is your hormonal system, which includes glands like the thyroid, adrenals, and the pancreas. For an impaired endocrine system, check out Holistic Guide to Healing the Endocrine System and Balancing Our Hormones.

I contend that most people living on a modern, refined diet suffer from candida overgrowth, and consequently, a leaky gut. Ingesting pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics, alcohol, and other toxic foods kill our natural, beneficial gut microbiome. The refined sugars and flours we ingest feed the microbes that survive our toxic lifestyles. These microbes thrive in our toxic bodies because they feed off of simple sugars and weak cells.  If you want to detoxify plastics or anything else, your gut needs to be in proper working order.

The diet I recommend may sound extreme. It’s the same diet I advocate for those suffering from cancer, diabetes, depression, or for those who just want to detoxify. If you are sick, no amount of supplements will fix that. But with the right diet, supplements will radically speed up the process of getting well. If you want to live life disease free, save the following articles:

Even if you’re not feeling ill in any way, detoxifying plastic or anything else is done best with raw, fresh vegetables. The right salad will chelate heavy metals, BPAs, BPS, and more, all while replenishing the minerals we need. Garlic, parsley, cilantro, and many other foods show promising chelation properties, but their effects alone are weak. Thr trick is to combine many healthy foods with their many health benefits for a holistic approach. Taking a few cloves of garlic a day will not significantly reduce levels of toxins any more than taking a supplement. In other words, don’t underestimate the importance of the right diet. It must contain a wide variety of fresh, whole foods.

Supplements for BPA and BPS, Heavy Metal Detox, and Other Endocrine Disrupters

Without a proper diet, the right supplements will work, but only to a certain extent, and only for a little while. On the other hand, supplements taken with a healthy diet can radically speed up healing time.

Probiotics

1.) Get thee some probiotics – pronto. I’m not talking celebrity endorsed yogurt here. Chose fermented foods like kimchi, natural sauerkraut, and kefir. A refrigerated, concentrated probiotic supplement helps. Drink kombucha. Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei were found to extract BPA from the blood of mammals and were excreted out through the bowels. That is very good news!

Beneficial bacteria strengthen the gut and help break down chemicals like BPA so they can be cleared out. As a bonus, they break down pesticides, another major endocrine-disruptor, and other toxins as well. Probiotics are becoming well known for breaking down endocrine-disruptors and other toxins in the body.

Chlorella has a well-documented history of helping remove heavy metals and other toxins like dioxin from the body expeditiously. Its high concentration of chlorophyll and fiber seems to be a big part of its exceptional detox benefits. It’s almost certain, considering the mechanism, that Chlorella (and spirulina) help pull out BPAs and other plastic residue.

Chlorella is a good source of protein, GLA, and phytochemicals, B12, B2, B3, iron, magnesium, Beta Carotene, and a bunch of powerful phytochemicals. Chlorella stimulates the growth of friendly bacteria. Furthermore, chlorella’s cell walls act to absorb toxic compounds within the intestines, restoring proper gastrointestinal pH and helping to promote normal peristalsis. And it is another chelator, as it is also very negatively charged, attracting positively charged molecules.

Phytochemicals found within Chlorella pyrenoidosa support the complex network of enzymatic reactions that drive the human detoxification system. This detoxification network involves the Phase I and Phase II enzymatic reactions that take place in nearly all cells in the body, though they are concentrated in the liver cells. Phase I detoxification reactions change non-polar chemicals that are not water-soluble into relatively polar, water-soluble compounds. The Phase I process can result in the formation of reactive chemicals that are typically more toxic than the original compounds. Phase II detoxification is necessary therefore to add chemical groups to the toxic intermediates to make them water-soluble so that they may easily be excreted via urine and/or feces. Phase I and Phase II detoxification pathways must remain functional for the removal of toxins from the body. This research focuses specifically on the Chlorella pyrenoidosa species of green algae recognized for its detoxification properties. – King Hardt Academy

Spirulina

Chlorella is green algae, but spirulina is more of a blue-green in color. These two algae have a lot in common. Chlorella’s green hue demonstrates that it’s richer in chlorophyll than spirulina, and chlorella is said to have stronger detoxification properties. But spirulina is an even better source of protein, and it offers iron, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, calcium, potassium, zinc, and a host of microminerals.

Related: Total Nutrition – Make your own Homemade Multivitamin and Mineral Formula

Enzymes

Digestive enzymes break down food. Metabolic enzymes, also known as systemic enzymes, break down foreign proteins, fibrin, and other toxins, and they clean the blood of impurities. Consider the ramifications of this. Probiotics and enzymes together help breakdown nearly everything in the gut that doesn’t belong. Read more about systemic enzymes here.

Green Tea

One way in which BPA harms body tissues is through oxidative stress. Two laboratory studies using extracts from both green tea and black tea were able to mitigate the damaging effects of BPA by protecting our cells from oxidative damage. Green tea has also been shown to stimulate glucuronidation, a detoxification pathway used for eliminating BPA from the body.

Lipoic Acid and folate have also been shown to reverse many of BPAs most damaging effects, especially oxidative stress.

Conclusion

My family and I do avoid it as often as we can. Years ago, I spent considerable time trying to completely eliminate plastic from my life. I found that my overall environmental footprint went up a little. Plastics make things so easy and convenient that sometimes it just doesn’t make any sense to do without it. I’m careful, but plastics don’t scare me. The body can handle a remarkable toxic load when the diet is right. I trust my diet to eliminate the BPA, BPS, and whatever else gets in there that shouldn’t be.

That said, I cannot wait for the day when our plastics come from hemp or some other sustainable alternative. There are much better options available to us if we can just get out from under this petroleum-based economy.

 

Supplements:
Recommended Reading:
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The War On Coconut Oil

Prior to World War II coconut oil was a common cooking oil and an ingredient in many food products. During World War II the Japanese occupied the Philippines and other South Pacific islands. They cut off the U.S.’s supply of coconut oil, and so, American manufacturers used vegetable oils instead. The vegetable oil industry then used advertising to promote vegetable oil as the healthier alternative to tropical oils.

For some time now science has been urging us to rethink our coconut oil stance, and many now consider it a heart-healthy ingredient. But companies selling coconut oil are finding themselves being attacked for claiming that coconut oil is healthy. The FDA does not allow such a claim, even if scientific studies and public awareness back it up. Companies are facing class actions lawsuits as attorneys take advantage of the FDA’s Ruling on Saturated Fats.1

Related: 35 Things You Could Do With Coconut Oil – From Body Care to Health to Household

Lawsuits – Businesses Affected

American Heart Association’s Presidential Advisory

The main sources of saturated fat to be decreased are dairy fat (butter), lard (pork), beef tallow, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil. Polyunsaturated fats are contained in canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and walnuts. However, original high-linoleic varieties of safflower and sunflower oils are uncommon. High-oleic varieties of safflower and sunflower oil, olive oil, avocados, and tree nuts such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, and pecans have mainly monounsaturated fats and are low in saturated fat. – AHA

Recommended: How Himalayan Salt Laps Work

What’s Wrong with the AHA’s Stance?

Saturated fats are not the problem. They got it wrong when we linked saturated fats to heart disease. There are pros and cons to animal saturated fats, and science is working it out, but saturated fats from plants like coconut oil do not seem to have any health drawbacks.

In the 1940’s farmers tried coconut oil to fatten their animals but discovered that it made them lean and active and increased their appetite. Coconut oil stimulates the thyroid.” – HealthStatus

What Science Says About Coconut Oil

  • Promotes weight loss, raises metabolism 2
  • Helps balance cholesterol 3
  • Does not clog arteries 4
  • Supports your immune system 5
  • Supports the endocrine system 6
Recommended: Diatomaceous Earth – Mother Nature’s Secret Weapon: What Is It, How to Use It, Where to Find It

While research shows coconut oil contains higher amounts of saturated fat and does increase total cholesterol, those amounts do not increase your heart attack or stroke risk. In fact, one study among lean, heart disease- and stroke-free Pacific Islanders who consumed up to 63 percent of their calories from coconut fat found total cholesterol rose but so did their “good” HDL. Other studies found lipid profiles improve on high-fat diets containing coconut oil. Researchers concluded it wasn’t saturated fat from coconuts that negatively impacted cholesterol profile. Instead, the coconut oil’s overall effect raised HDL while lowering triglycerides and small LDL cholesterol particles, which is definitely a good thing.” – Dr. Hyman

Recommended Reading:
Sources:
  1. War on Coconut Oil: California Companies Attacked to try and Prevent the Sale of Coconut Oil – Health Impact News
  2. How Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat – HealthLine
  3. Is Coconut Oil bad for Your Cholesterol? – Dr. Mark Hyman
  4. Does saturated fat clog your arteries? Controversial paper says ‘no’ – CNN
  5. Three Ways Coconut Oil Can Boost Your Immune System – Primal Paleo
  6. Will Coconut Oil Help with Thyroid Problems? – Wellness Mama



Sugar Leads to Depression – World’s First Trial Proves Gut and Brain are Linked (Protocol Included)

It’s official. If you’re keeping up with the latest science, you know that the gut is inexorably linked to the brain. This year researchers found a correlation between depression and mood swings in men and high sugar intake.Last year a study showed probiotics could help with reducing the risk of depression.2 A growing body of evidence is proving that healthy people’s microbiota has a lot in common with other healthy people’s microbiota, and diseased people’s micro-biota also have common traits.3  They’ve been talking about how the gut may affect the brain and the immune system more and more for the last 20 years. Mainstream medicine is slowly figuring out that our gut’s microflora correlates directly with our health, and sugar and other junk foods do not promote healthy gut bacteria.

World’s First Trial Shows Improving Diet Can Treat Major Depression

Depression is one of the world’s most prevalent and costly medical disorders. It may be surprising to read “World’s First” in regards to a trial study establishing a link between diet and depression, as many would guess that this kind of study has done before. It hasn’t been, but headlines proclaiming that healthier diets may decrease the risk of depression have been appearing in the news more frequently. That is the work of Director of Deakin’s Food and Mood Centre Professor Felice Jacka and her team. She’s published numerous epidemiological (survey-based) studies reporting that eating an unhealthy diet shows you are more likely to be depressed. The studies were based on questionnaires. They were not actual diet experiments. They have simply educated guesses that hadn’t been tested in the real world yet. Until now.

Professor Jacka said the results of her team’s new study may offer a better approach to depression.

We’ve known for some time that there is a clear association between the quality of people’s diets and their risk for depression.

This is the case across countries, cultures and age groups, with healthy diets associated with reduced risk, and unhealthy diets associated with increased risk for depression.

However, this is the first randomised controlled trial to directly test whether improving diet quality can actually treat clinical depression.” – Professor Jacka

The Study Details

Professor Jacka’s team recruited 67 men and women. The participants had severe depression and also reported eating a relatively unhealthy diet. Most of them were taking antidepressants and/or were in regular psychotherapy.

Half of the participants adhered to a Mediterranean diet while they attended dietary support sessions with a nutritionist. The others continued eating as usual (unhealthy), but they were required to attend social support “befriending” sessions. Everyone’s depression symptoms were graded using several different tests.

Encouraged foods included: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, low-fat/ unsweetened dairy, raw unsalted nuts, lean red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and olive oil

Discouraged foods included: Sweets, refined cereals, fried food, fast food, processed meat.

Beverage information: maximum two sugar-sweetened beverages per week and maximum two alcoholic drinks per day, preferably red wine.

The Study Results

People in the unhealthy diet group improved a statistically insignificant amount, and those in the healthy diet group improved their symptoms with a full third of them fully reversing their depression. It’s also important to note that this was done with conventionally accepted dietary protocols. It should be noted that these “healthy” diets are not that healthy. Imagine the results a more radical approach could have achieved.

How & Why (gut bacteria, B vitamins, etc.)

In another study, scientists from McMaster University wanted to test how mice with different gut bacterial conditions deal with stress.

The baby mice were stressed from 3 to 21 days old by being separated from their mother for 3 hours each day. This experiment was conducted with mice that had different gut bacterial conditions. One group of mice was grown completely free of bacteria in their guts and kept in a sterile room to prevent bacteria from affecting their behaviors (germ-free mice). The other group were regular mice that were exposed to an ordinary, complex range of bacteria. The last group was a germ-free control group that hadn’t been separated from their mothers. The baby mice with normal gut microbiomes that had been subjected to early-life stress showed an unusual increase in the stress hormone corticosterone. They also exhibited signs of depression as well as anxiety. The germ-free mice, meanwhile, behaved similarly to the control mice, showing no symptoms of anxiety or depression. It is interesting to note that these mice also had elevated levels of corticosterone, just not symptoms of depression. Naturally, the control group showed no elevated stress hormone or altered behavior.”

These results indicate that the bacteria in our environment contribute to our mental health and behavior.

Next, they exposed the germ-free mice to bacteria taken from the stressed group. As the bacterial composition of the germ-free mice changed, so did their metabolic activity and their behavior. After a few weeks, the previously symptom-free mice were now showing signs of depression. Finally, the researchers wanted to see how the control group reacted when they were exposed to bacteria from the stressed mice. In this situation, the mice didn’t start showing symptoms of depression at all.” – IFLS

Our brains are running off of the energy our gut and our lungs are producing. If our gut is producing an unhealthy chemical environment, this effects the whole body including the brain.

Depression Free Diet & Lifestyle

Eat Right

So eating right…we’ve got you covered:

Stop eating sugar and processed foods. Yes, the depressed brain wants to reach for the nearest comfort food (donut, pizza, what have you), but the mice have proven that’s probably the last thing you actually need. The brain and the gut are intertwined and cultivating your beneficial bacteria with raw, fresh produce; soaked and sprouted nuts; and antibiotic-free, pasture-raised meats is a necessary part of any healing process. You don’t expect a mechanic to work on your car without tools. Why expect the same from your body?

Most people reading this who are really looking for answers to help with their depression are not going to be able to take on an entirely new lifestyle filled with shopping at farmers markets and cooking all of one’s own food. Think of this is the long-term goal and take baby steps towards being more connected and in touch with your food. Also, check out How I Overcame Depression Naturally and I’m Depressed.

Stop with the germaphobia

If you carry a small bottle of disinfectant on your keychain or find yourself constantly rubbing your hands together in a strange imitation of someone over a campfire, step away from the sanitizer. You’re doing more harm than good. Most commercial sanitizers contain harmful ingredients like triclosan, parabens, and sulfates. They also contribute to the inability to fight diseases naturally.

Exposure to harmful bacteria teaches the body how to naturally fight infection. It’s why we suggest that small children spend time playing in the dirt. But antibiotics, hand sanitizers, and household cleaners have taken that away from us, along with the beneficial bacteria. Beneficial bacteria is the gatekeeper to the immune system.

Play With Nature, Get Dirty

Speaking of sticking your hands in the dirt…do it. When you’re depressed, the last thing you want to hear s some random person chirping at you about how you should “just go outside…” but seriously…do it. Vitamin D is your friend.

If you’re near water, you’re in luck. Humans respond to water on a primal level.

Exert Yourself

This one is kind of like the go outside one…you gotta do it. Make it something simple. Maybe swap getting in the car for walking somewhere instead. Play your favorite music or enjoy some people watching.

A depressed brain is likely in short supply of feel-good endorphins and neurotransmitters.

Sleep Well

Make yourself go to bed. Stop looking at your phone. In fact, take a cue from babies, nature’s original fussy sleepers. Or at least a cue from their parents – nighttime routine. No, you’re not in a onesie (are you?), but many of the tricks used by hopeful parents can be modified to help you.

Bath, with soothing essential oils (because you’re an adult now!) or other pleasing spa products? Check. Soothing music/white noise/smoothly voiced NPR podcast? Check. A ridiculous book you don’t necessarily want anyone to see you reading? Check. Momma knows best, but you’re still a grown ass adult. Have fun planning a decadent pre-bed routine. Also, check out Insomnia – A Comprehensive Look with Natural Remedies.

Supplements To Fix The Gut & End Depression

Almost everyone in the world who is dealing with chronic health issues or chronic mental issues has an abundance of Candida and heavy metal toxicity, along with a lack of beneficial bacteria. Diet alone can fix this for most people, but when the head is not working well, choices don’t usually go well either. B vitamins can help alleviate depression until the healthy gut microbes develop. Good fats (click here) are a must for people who can’t assimilate Bs properly. For those dealing with depression, a diet rich in B vitamins and healthy fats is a very good start. Supplements can be used to accelerate healing and eliminate all the other ailments and used to kill Candida and promote healthy bacteria.

Related:

SF722

This is my favorite for killing anything fungal, but it also works on parasites and other pathogens. If you have had yeast infections, athlete’s foot, see floaters, have BO, or eat the way everyone in modern countries do, you’ll want this supplement. There are tons of other choices for killing yeast (click here), but I don’t know of anything that does a better job for the money than SF722. Candida can become fairly immune to many other antimicrobials but studies have shown that this does not happen with SF722.

Probiotics

Probiotics help fix everything int he gut, including breaking down and removing things that shouldn’t be there, like heavy metals. A healthy gut detox the body all the time. Often touted as the cure everything supplement for the well-informed, probiotics are something most everyone is familiar with these days. What most do not know is that the vast majority of probiotic supplements on the market are ineffectual at best, and many actually feed yeast. How the probiotics are processed and preserved make all the difference. It’s not an easy task to produce good probiotics; our stomach acid is designed to kill it. Two of my favorites are FloraMend and Bio-K (the latter is not available in our store, but it is at most health food stores and Whole Foods). I don’t recommend taking a probiotic with antimicrobials. A really good probiotic should come out on top, but you are reducing its effectiveness when you combine it with compounds that kill. For instance, I would take SF722 all day and a probiotic at night and early morning, or vice versa, where I take the probiotic with food and the SF722 late and early. Different digestive issues can favor one over the other so try both ways and see what works for you.

Don’t take them with antimicrobials, and make sure they are high-quality supplements. Anyone without an appendix should take a probiotic every day with every major meal for the rest of their life. Your appendix secretes out beneficial bacteria when you don’t have enough. Take them on an empty stomach as noted or with food to help digest food inside the gut. I recommend mixing it up each day, but I do recommend caution when taking systemic enzymes. Too many systemic enzymes can cause issues, they can start to eat away at the body, so I don’t just grab a big handful like I do with SF722. I personally take 4-6 a day on an empty stomach, and I take more with food as needed.

One antimicrobial you can take with probiotics is olive leaf extract. It’s great for maintenance but it’s not a yeast serial-killer like SF722 (otherwise it would damage the probiotic). It’s a fine supplement, and but it’s not going to do much of anything all by itself. I like Abzorb best right now for a probiotic. For more on systemic enzymes click here.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an old home remedy for all that ails you, including ‘anxiety, apathy, depression, headaches, insecurity, irritability, restlessness, talkativeness, and sulkiness.’ In 1968, Wacker and Parisi reported that magnesium deficiency could cause depression, behavioral disturbances, headaches, muscle cramps, seizures, ataxia, psychosis, and irritability – all reversible with magnesium repletion.” – Psychology Today

A small study reported that over-the-counter magnesium tablets significantly improve depression in just a couple of weeks.11

Magnesium is a foundational supplement, like calcium. In the modern world, there is a tendency to become deficient in this vital mineral, and this effects every single function of the body! Not having enough magnesium is like not having enough oil in the car. Something is going to break down sooner or later, and in the meaning time, things will not be running as well as they should.

Poop Easy

For some, the gut needs more help to eliminate properly. Everyone should defecate once for every meal, and maybe once or twice more for those who also snack on lots of calories throughout the day like I do. Shillington’s Intestinal Cleanse is the best I know of for healing the gut, killing parasites that may reside within, and getting the bowels regular. Shillington’s Intestinal Detox helps eliminate heavy metals and anything positively charged (like most pathogens), and it slows down and firms up stools. It also helps heal the gut and rebuild a healthy biofilm. Together the two supplements have synergistic properties, and they can be taken together to help balance the gut. It’s a very effective combination, but if the budget is tight, get the one that suits your needs. Note that if you have chronic constipation and have not tried magnesium yet, Shillington’s Intestinal Cleanse may not be necessary with a good magnesium supplement.

Conclusion

We rely on bacteria to survive and yet many aspire to live in an antibacterial world. We know certain heavy metals are incredibly toxic to us, but we excuse them in vaccinations and light bulbs and sushi. Most of us know that fresh, raw vegetables pull our heavy metal toxins, but we grow conventional vegetables with such a heavy toxic load that they no longer have their natural chelation properties. For most people, when it’s all said and done, our physical well being affects our mental well being more than anything else in our lives. Our entire body is built on what we eat. Our heart, our gallbladder, our appendix, our fingers, our eyes, our noise, our brain – they all need the right nutrition to function properly. Nothing in the body gets healthy and stays healthy for long without fixing the gut first, and that includes the brain. If you’re looking for the easiest thing you can do, a little baby-step just to get you started, get the SF722 and Abzorb and some B vitamins. I can’t stress enough how much almost everyone in any modern country could use SF722 to help fix the gut. Get some sunlight or a D vitamin and some good fats. Start squatting every day, just a few to start with and build up daily. And get into some nature, be it walking or gardening or whatever. Another good option would be CBD oil. It’s showing a lot of promise with depression.

 

Recommended Reading:
Sources:
  1. The Link Between Sugar And Depression: What You Should Know – Forbes
  2. Effect of Probiotics on Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials – NCBI
  3. The healthy human microbiome – NCBI
  4. Link Found Between Gut Bacteria And Depression – IFL Science
  5. Gut Bacteria in Health and Disease – NCBI
  6. Diet and Depression – Psychology Today
  7. Mediterranean Diet Can Help In Fight Against Depression – study – ABC News 
  8. World’s First Clinical Trial Finds Diet Works for Depression – Psychology Today
  9. Mediterranean diet can help in fight against depression, Australian study finds – ABC News
  10. A randomized controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial) – BMC Medicine
  11. Can magnesium help depression – or is it just a placebo?

 




CBD Oil – A Comprehensive Guide To Cannabidiol

Cannabis, marijuana, weed, pot — no matter what you call it — it contains CBD. Although it won’t get you high, this plant compound can take your health to the next level.

What is CBD and CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is one of over 60 compounds called cannabinoids that are most commonly found in the cannabis plant. Most cannabis plants contain less than 4% CBD, so the only way to get a good amount of this cannabinoid is from pure CBD oil. Most CBD oil is extracted from industrial hemp, which usually has a higher CBD content than marijuana. After extraction, the CBD is added to a carrier oil and sold at many different potencies to be used in a variety of different ways.

However, before we go deeper into the uses of CBD oil, we need a better understanding of what sets it apart from other cannabinoids. For example, you might already be familiar with another popular cannabinoid found in cannabis called THC. THC is infamous for being the reason why we get high when we smoke or consume “edibles,” but it also has a non-psychoactive form called THCA that is present when cannabis is in its raw form. CBD, on the other hand, plays many different roles in the body and never gets you high regardless of how much you smoke it.

The Difference Between THCA, THC, and CBD

Industrial hemp (a popular variety of the cannabis plant) tests out at less than 0.3% THC. THC rich cannabis in its raw form is non-psychoactive. “Raw” THC is actually THCA. What we call “Marijuana” is cannabis that tests out with THCA between 5 and 35%.

THCA is beginning to demonstrate immense therapeutic qualities. Some people add THCA-rich cannabis leaves and flowers to their salads and smoothies, others consume with a tincture.

Related: How to Make the Healthiest Smoothies – 4 Recipes

THCA becomes the psychoactive THC through a chemical process called decarboxylation, which occurs with heat and time. The delivery methods for THC are smoking, vaporizing, and consuming “edibles.” Drying and curing cannabis will cause some decarboxylation to occur. Cured cannabis flowers will often test for small amounts of THC along with THCA. THC is fat soluble (and not water soluble). THC infused cooking, from pesto to chocolate, is made by heating ground up THCA rich cannabis with oil at 220 degrees Fahrenheit (104 Celsius) for 30 to 45 minutes. THC rich treats are commonly referred to as “edibles,” and they typically have massive amounts of sugar btw!

THCA’s Therapeutic Properties

THCA is the most abundant cannabinoid in a plant, depending on the time at when it is tested. THCA has been seen to have many benefits in a limited number of studies. Studies have found THCA to be anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, anti-emetic, and anti-proliferative. There is plenty more this compound can do, and there are other cannabinoids, like the many varieties of terpenes and THCV, all proving to have some similar and some very different effects, and many of which are proving to be medical viable in very different ways.

The science on all of these other cannabinoids is in its infancy. The cannabinoids that we know most about, however, are CBD and THC.

The Relationship Between CBD and THC

In particular, the effect that CBD can have when ingested with THC has garnered significant interest. What research has found so far is fascinating.

For example, when active THC is ingested alone, it increases pulse rate, disturbs time tasks, and induces strong psychological reactions in some people, but when CBD is ingested with the THC, it blocks most of these adverse effects.

CBD also has been found to decrease the anxiety component of a THC “high” in such a way that the study subjects reported more pleasurable effects when CBD was included with the THC. This evidence suggests that it is better for our health to have a higher percentage of CBD in or with our cannabis if we decide to ingest the plant in any form.

The Dark Side of Cannabis

It is an even better idea, however, to rarely consume THC unless you have a medical condition that has been proven to be helped by a combination of THC and CBD. When we look through the research, you will see why I am making such a cautionary statement about THC.

In a scientific paper on the current state of cannabinoid research, the authors found that the current trend for preferring higher THC content in cannabis carries significant health risks, particularly to those who are susceptible to its harmful effects. For example, Morgan and colleagues carried out a study on 120 current cannabis users, which included 66 daily and 54 recreational users, whose hair analyses revealed their THC and CBD amounts. The study found that higher THC levels in the hair of the daily users were associated with increased depression and anxiety, as well as weaker performance on memory tasks. On the other hand, higher CBD levels in the hair were associated with lower psychosis-like symptoms and better memory.

Epidemiological studies also point toward an association between the use of cannabis and the increased risk of developing a psychotic illness, in a dose-dependent manner. In other words, what this study found is that you are more likely to develop a mental disorder as your THC consumption increases. On top of that, they also found that increased cannabis use is often accompanied by symptoms of depression and anxiety.

However, this is only epidemiological evidence, so it should only be used to inform further experimentation on THC’s effects. The truth is that only a small minority develop a full-blown psychotic illness in the form of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The majority of cannabis users, ranging from 15% to 50%, will only experience transient psychotic symptoms of brief duration, for a couple of hours to up to a week, and will usually recover without requiring any intervention.

These “transient psychotic symptoms” may be experienced in the form of an auditory hallucination like hearing voices or by having increased anxiety or paranoia for hours to days after the THC high wears off.

Whether you experience unpleasant side effects from THC use or not, it is best for anyone who has a family history of psychosis or anyone who has had symptoms of psychosis in the past to avoid THC altogether. On the other hand, CBD rarely causes side effects, and when it does, they are relatively minor.

The Side Effects of CBD oil

CBD oil is well tolerated by most people, but there are some potential side effects — especially at higher doses. According to a review in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, the most common side effects include:

  • tiredness
  • diarrhea
  • changes in appetite
  • weight gain or weight loss

Another review of the potential side effects in humans found that CBD rarely causes issues with dosages of up to 1500 mg/day (orally). The good news is that most people won’t even need to take half that dose to reap the benefits of CBD.

The Benefits of CBD Oil

Although the research regarding CBD’s effects on the body is in its early stages, it has already been found to affect the body in various ways.

Preliminary evidence suggests that CBD oil:

  • modulates the immune system
  • reduces inflammation
  • decreases seizures
  • relieves muscle tension and stress
  • improves mental health
  • protects brain cells from damage and inflammation
  • prevents nausea and vomiting
  • regulates bowel motility
  • lowers heart rate
  • decreases blood pressure
  • has anti-cancer properties against gliomas and lung cancer

To follow up on these promising effects, researchers conducted more studies. As a result, we now have relatively convincing data that backs up these following benefits of CBD oil:

Anxiety Reduction

Both animal and human studies indicate that CBD has anti-anxiety properties. In fact, in a recent double-blind study carried out on patients with generalized social anxiety disorder, it was found that CBD significantly reduced their anxiety.

Related: Holistic Guide to Healing the Endocrine System and Balancing Our Hormones

Anti-psychotic effects

As we discovered earlier, CBD can actually decrease the psychotic effects that THC can have on the body. Without the presence of THC, CBD can further help reduce symptoms of psychosis.

Decreased Inflammation

CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties throughout the body and brain. In fact, it is such a powerful inflammation reducing agent that one study suggests that CBD may decrease inflammation too much in some people. This could put the body at a higher risk of illness and infection. However, when CBD is used at lower doses or in people who have chronic inflammation, it can be highly effective at improving immune system function.

Cancer Growth Inhibitor

CBD has been found to slow the growth of lung cancer, as well as trigger apoptosis (cell death) in brain and spinal cord tumors. This makes CBD oil a promising supplementary treatment for certain types of cancer. Hopefully, it will garner enough evidence to become the first line of treatment for cancer.

Helps Reduce Seizures

Both THC and CBD have been found to reduce the severity and frequency of seizures, but CBD is clearly a better option. This because it has shown better results than THC, and it doesn’t seem to negatively influence the brain in any way.

 Arthritis Pain Reduction

A study in the European Journal of Pain used an animal model to see if CBD could help people with arthritis manage their pain. Researchers applied a topical gel containing CBD to rats with arthritis for four days.

Their research found a significant drop in inflammation and signs of pain, without additional side effects. This indicates that people using CBD oil for arthritis may find relief from their pain, but more human studies need to be done to confirm these findings.

Improved Quality of Life for People with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the entire body through the nerves and brain.

Muscle spasms are one of the most common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Studies have found that short-term use of CBD oil can reduce the spasms.

The results are modest, but many people reported a reduction in symptoms. More human studies are needed to verify these results.

Pain Relief

CBD can also be used for general chronic pain. After compiling the results of dozens of trials and studies, researchers concluded that there is substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.

Related: What Causes Chronic Inflammation, and How To Stop It For Good

Improved Sleep Quality

Research has found CBD to be more effective than a common insomnia drug at improving the length of sleep. This finding suggests that CBD can be helpful for people with sleep disorders like insomnia.

How CBD Works — The Endocannabinoid System

At this point, you may be thinking that CBD sounds too good to be true. How could a random little plant compound have all of these seemingly unrelated effects on the body? Well — you can thank your endocannabinoid system for that.

Each one of us has an endocannabinoid system that receives and translates signals it receives from cannabinoids in the body. Unfortunately for many cannabis consumers out there, we do not have this system because we’ve evolved to smoke weed every day. The purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate various systems throughout your body with the cannabinoids that your body manufactures.

Even though our knowledge about the role of the endocannabinoid system is still evolving, the available evidence indicates that this system has multiple regulatory roles in neuronal, vascular, metabolic, immune and reproductive systems. Because of its involvement these systems, endocannabinoids affect functions such as cognition, memory, motor movements, pain perception, inflammation, body weight regulation, cardiovascular health, stress response, appetite, and sleep.

How CBD and THC Interact with Our Endocannabinoid System

Cannabinoids from plants like THC and CBD have such a massive impact on our bodies because they mimic the cannabinoids that we make inside our bodies. For example, when we get “high” from THC it is because that cannabinoid is interacting directly with cannabinoid receptors in our cells that end up triggering the experience of feeling “high.”

As you might have alright assumed, CBD interacts a bit differently with our endocannabinoid system than THC. Instead of acting directly on the receptors, CBD activates or inhibits other compounds in the endocannabinoid system.

For example, CBD stops the body from absorbing anandamide, an endocannabinoid in our body that is associated with regulating pain. Increased levels of anandamide in the bloodstream may reduce the amount of pain a person feels.

The distribution of the endocannabinoid system in the brain is also something to take note of.  If you look closely at the brain cells in areas of the brain that go awry in various mental disorders, you will find endocannabinoid receptors. This points us in the direction of a mechanism that explains why THC is linked with psychosis and why CBD mitigates these effects. Perhaps CBD prevents THC or our own cannabinoids from triggering mental health issues.

This is a fascinating hypothesis, but it is beyond the scope of this article. Instead, let’s take our discussion to a practical place to find out what dose we need to experience the benefits of CBD.

How Much CBD Oil Should You Take?

Below are some general CBD dosage guidelines:

  • General Health: start small at 2.5-15mg CBD by mouth daily and increase until you feel positive effects
  • To treat anxiety disorders: oral doses ranging from 300 to 600 mg (supported by multiple studies)
  • To treat chronic pain: 2.5-20 mg CBD by mouth daily (anecdotal suggestion)
  • To treat epilepsy: 200-300 mg CBD by mouth daily with antiepileptic medication (backed by research)
  • To treat sleep disorders like insomnia: 160 mg CBD by mouth daily (supported by multiple studies)

The right dose of CBD varies from person to person. Generally speaking, larger individuals may prefer a higher dose of CBD than smaller people.

If you are not sure how much to take, then start with a smaller dose and scale it up a few milligrams at a time to meet your personal needs. Also, those that have a medical condition should always consult with their healthcare professional before consuming CBD.

Other Considerations When Taking CBD Oil

Using CBD oil can make the medications that you may be taking more or less effective. For example, CBD may improve the effectiveness of antiepileptic drugs such as valproate and clobazam, while being negatively impacted by other antiepileptic drugs like carbamazepine and phenytoin. For this reason and because of how little we know about how CBD interacts with different medications, it is crucial that you discuss CBD oil supplementation with your healthcare professional and make adjustments to your dosages in small increments.

Another thing to consider is the long-term effects that CBD has on hormones and other aspects of health. To this day, there are no studies that examine how CBD oil supplementation impacts the body over extended periods of time. However, current studies suggest that CBD oil is safe at the dosages recommended above in the short and long term.

It should also be noted that all of the studies we explored in this article were performed using either adults or animals. The safety of CBD oil in children and pregnant women is not well understood. We do know, however, that the endocannabinoid system is an active player in the placenta, impacting fetal development. Future research may find that CBD oil can help improve the health of the mother and the fetus during pregnancy, but at this point, there is no evidence to back up that assumption.

Key Takeaways & Recommended CBD Oil Sources

Although the research on CBD oil is scarce, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it can help a wide range of people with a variety conditions.

Research indicates that CBD can help people with:

  • anxiety disorders
  • insomnia
  • psychosis
  • chronic pain
  • arthritis
  • epilepsy
  • chronic inflammation
  • cancer
  • multiple sclerosis

Even if you don’t have one of these conditions, CBD can be helpful for improving general health by reducing stress, pain, and inflammation. Just make sure you get your CBD oil from a trustworthy source because CBD oil — like every other supplement — is not well-regulated.

Related Products:
Recommended Reading:
Sources:



Minimalism – How to Change Your Life When Everything is a Mess

Sometimes it feels like our world is falling completely apart. We just don’t feel like we were born to succeed. We look around and wonder if anyone else feels like this big of a mess. Our money is scarce, our house unkempt, our health not looking too good and our relationships going down the drain. So we can’t help but think:

“What the hell is wrong with me!?”

But you mustn’t feel so bad; It’s not all your fault!

It’s the Consumerism Sabotage

It´s the consumerism sabotage

Since a young age, you had your googly eyes wide open as you were out and about processing as much information as possible and figuring out how life worked. Everything you experienced in your home, at school, or anywhere you were until this day has served as the main guidance for you to arrive where you are now.

So where did it all go wrong?

Think of yourself as a computer system. It started with our system (us) suffering a series of virus attacks (brainwashing).

Related: How to Be Happy

For example, TV commercials told us that if we want to look beautiful, we must have their brand of clothing, that the most attractive folks would buy this line of fragrance, or even that their magic pills can make you thin in very little time.

Imagine our system didn’t have an anti-virus (awareness). As a result, the virus would seep in and reprogram your system to add new files (new watches, clothing, jewelry, etc.) at random times on its own (impulse purchases).

Now imagine what happens when you keep ignoring the signs that you need an antivirus (debt, having too much stuff, etc.). You keep making impulse buys until your life collapses under the chaos.

It’s time to install the antivirus before that happens. What’s the best antivirus? Minimalism.

The What, Why and How of Minimalism

What is minimalism?

As I interviewed my friend Matthew Romanchick about minimalism, he gave me what I found to be the best definition yet: “Removing the stuff that sucks you dry in favor of the things that bring you life.”
So that includes removing material things, people, and old thought patterns from your life that suck you dry instead of making you a better person (This doesn’t include friends that give you constructive criticism you may not want to hear every once in a while).

Why should we become minimalists?

Consumerism is reaching new heights, and it’s a serious thing. It has become normal to spend money you don´t have, on things you don´t need. According to nerdwallet.com’s 2016 statistics report, the average household owed $137,063 in debts including credit cards, mortgage, auto loans, etc. and the worst news is that after you are in debt, it continues to cost you money to stay in debt. $1,292 per year to be exact – that is the cost of yearly interest for credit card debt alone. As a result of this, more and more people are becoming homeless and depressed in the US. In a single night in 2016 there were 549,928 people experiencing homelessness. Minimalism is the perfect way to combat this craze and help bring peace and fulfillment to people´s lives.

How can minimalism help bring peace and fulfillment?

By reducing your consumption to what is essential, your life is filled with peace. Minimalism will give you the money, time, and freedom to breathe and enjoy a low maintenance, stress-free and abundant life, instead of falling into the false illusion that one day you will have all the material things you need to finally be happy.

Here is how it works

Minimalizing equals having less — Fewer responsibilities, less debt, less guilt, less stress and less wish to buy.
Minimalizing, however, also equals having more — More savings, a more clear conscience, a more pleasant night’s sleep, and a more joyful and intentional life which in turn equals to a happier life.

Recommended: Detox Cheap and Easy Without Fasting – Recipes Included

Does this mean a minimalist’s life is easy? Well, I can guarantee you that it´s simpler and more efficient than most!
I take pride in getting ready in 15 minutes and looking great for the day ahead of me. But imagine that all of the sudden you could have more time for reading books or being with friends, more mental clarity to accomplish your daily goals, having renewed confidence to give dating another shot, or for some, rekindling that romance with your loved one. Imagine looking at your bank account and realizing you have the money saved up for going on trips or investing on something just for you. Minimalizing makes all of this and so much more possible!

Now if you are wondering when is the best time to start this process, I have a straightforward technique to determine that. But first, we must figure out what we need to minimalize most.

What you can minimalize

This list is to give you a better idea of where you can start.
Make sure you prepare your own personal list of what you want to get rid of or adapt to serve you better.

  • Your home – Check out my article on these revolutionizing traveling tiny homes. Are they amazing or what? TINY HOMES — THE BIGGEST LIFE HACK
  • Spending – Here are some awesome saving challenges for you to fill up that bank account. 5 Money Saving Challenges to Try
  • Relationships/People – ” Show me your friends and I will show you your future.” That about sums it up.
  • Harmful thought patterns – When did feeling guilty for something you did 12 years ago solve anything? Think instead how you can make things better today. Other examples of harmful thought patterns that limit your success are fear, anxiety, feelings of unworthiness, etc.
  • Wardrobe – Create your own unique capsule wardrobe and improve your life by 1000%. It’s a minimalist trend you´ll love!  How to Build A Capsule Wardrobe [Gold Zipper]
  • Shoes – Do you really need 20 pairs of shoes for one pair of feet?
  • Memory box – Take pictures of the things and store on a hard drive instead. They will last you forever and save space.
  • Make-up – Did you know the average woman spends $200k on make-up in the span of a lifetime? You could buy five amazing tiny homes with that money. How crazy is that?
  • Cars – Imagine how much more gas, money, and health you would save by bike riding or walking down to the market to get those two things you need?

Now that you have a clearer picture of what to minimalize, below are eight practical steps to guide your decluttering journey.

Let´s Get Down and Dirty

Here is where we finally minimalize.
Remember that you can go at your own pace because it’s not a race, it’s a beautiful life-changing journey.

STEP 1. Make a list of what you want to minimalize.

I suggest choosing one area of your home to declutter at a time, and if you are having a harder time detaching, you can start a bit smaller and declutter a section of a room of choice every weekend like for example, the kitchen cabinets this weekend, and the bathroom the next, etc.

STEP 2. Take 4 boxes and label: Trash/Donation/Sell/Unsure.

Although these are mostly self-explanatory, I’d like to elaborate on the trash box (you could also just fill up a trash bag instead). You should only trash the item if it is broken, with defects, a product with very little content or that is unusable. Also trash personal things such as letters or things that bring you negative emotions – You are beginning a fresh new phase of your life, possibly one of the best yet, why keep these things that take away your joy?

STEP 3. The checklist.

Ask yourself the questions from the minimalist checklist below for each item you own, and whatever you do, always use this list when you think of acquiring something new.

Minimalist check off list

  1. Do I love it?
  2. Do I need it?
  3. Do I have multiples?
  4. Does it represent me well?
  5. Have I used it in the past six months?

STEP 4. Place each item in the appropriate box.

If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions (except for #3), then you should probably sell, donate or trash the item.

STEP 5. Give special attention to items with emotional attachments

This is usually intense and makes you feel like a loser at being a minimalist at first, but it’s really just part of the journey. You are going to have items you are not going to want to part with because no matter how much you dislike it, it was your grandma that gave it to you. No matter how much you resent that cheating ex from high school, you can’t bring yourself to throw away the love letter he wrote you.

What you need to do is run it through the minimalist checklist. If it turns out it doesn’t logically make sense to keep a certain item, then take a picture of it and store that instead. But if you’re really unsure about letting it go, keep it on the unsure pile.

STEP 6. The one in, one out rule.

One day you will find yourself in love with something you saw somewhere, and you are going to feel like you need to have it. A very efficient method of knowing if this item is superfluous or not is to utilize the one in one out rule. For this, you must get rid of one item you already own in exchange for the new one you wish to get. So before you buy it, make sure you have in mind the item that’s going to go (Don´t use this method while grocery shopping).

STEP 7. Have a place for seasonal items.

Example: If you’re in the summer, keep those winter clothes inside a suitcase under your bed or stored in your area of preference. When winter arrives, switch them out with your current summer clothes you won’t be needing like shorts, bikinis, crop tops, etc. Do this for every season if you find it necessary.

STEP 8. Keep the cycle going.

It is important to maintain and reorganize every so often. The reason for that is that it’s easy for things to pile up again if you’re not attentive and strict enough, so make sure to do that occasional cleaning and recycling to freshen up your wardrobe, looks, and home. I like to reassess my belongings every weekend as I clean my closet.

That’s it — these are the basic steps to minimalizing. Make sure to check out minimalist bloggers and explore different methods. There is a world of wonderful minimalists overflowing wisdom and talent out there on the web. But hold on, before you go, there is still one last thing we must address.

Minimizing Minimalist Misconceptions

  • I love clothes and shoes. I can’t be a minimalist.

If you love clothes and shoes (or anything else), that just means you should spend your time with the ones that deserve your time, a selection of the best and nothing less! And let me tell you, this will allow you to look and feel 100x better.

  • Minimalism is extreme

As much as living with all that you need and not running to the mall to shop for superfluous things as soon as you get your paycheck tends to be considered extreme, we like to think that a life of consumerism that brings every day countless people to homelessness, as extreme.

  • Minimalism is for plain/simple women

That’s a plain “no”… As a minimalist, you can be as bright and bold as ever. The only difference is that you won´t go broke, nuts or in debt because of it.

  • There is a specific amount of items you need to have as a minimalist

Each individual is in charge of finding out what is “minimal” to them. There isn´t a set rule though some people like to challenge themselves by cutting down their belongings by 288,55 or even 33 pieces of items or less.

  • Minimalists are cheap and don’t own nice things

False statement. Since minimalists have fewer expenses, they can afford to invest more money on items of better quality that will last them longer and look better.

New Beginnings

I hope this article has helped you on your journey and that you fall in love with minimalism like I and countless others have.
Minimalism has come as a lifestyle and gift in which to change the lives of those who struggle as a result of a consumerist life, that only takes life from our lives and never gives back. Don’t you worry — the fulfillment that you thought you would get from that item will not be lost. You can create fulfillment within yourself by minimalizing your life and maximizing the pleasant, guilt-free, and memorable moments in it.
Ladies, you are filled with pure potential to mold yourselves into the woman you have always longed to be, and the reason for that is: you’re human, you’re unique, and you are destined for greatness, no matter who you are. It is up to you to follow the path that is leading you towards a bright new beginning. So, say yes!

Abundant blessings to all.

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