In high school, I guzzled soda like there was no tomorrow. I drank full strength Pepsi loaded with sugar, while my housemate drank diet Coke. He was trying to lose weight and said avoiding sugar was helping. I was overweight and didn’t know any better, so I started drinking diet Coke, too. It tasted awful at first, but in a few days, I got used to the strange aftertaste. I figured if it helped me lose weight, it was worth it.
A couple of weeks later, I began experiencing severe abdominal cramps. I didn’t know it was related to the aspartame in the diet Coke. The thought never occurred to me to research the ingredients in my food, and this was long before natural alternatives like erythritol and stevia were commercially used.
After a few months, I stopped drinking the beverage because it wasn’t enjoyable. The cramps went away, and I passed it off as prolonged indigestion. Ten years later, I became aware of the dangers of artificial sugars and realized the cramps were related.
The safety of aspartame wasn’t the only health myth I believed in while growing up. Television commercials boasted the dangers of eating too much butter, too many eggs, and what terrible things would happen if you smoked marijuana, ingested psychedelics, or sat on the beach without sunscreen. Living in a bubble seemed like the only safe option.
The media did a good job of scaring the pants off of me
I wouldn’t dare try psychedelics like shrooms or LSD. I wasn’t afraid of dying, but I didn’t want to live with horrible flashbacks from a bad trip for the rest of my life. All I remember is seeing a documentary about a man who used LSD and spent his life flicking imaginary bugs off of his arms in a mental institution.
I also used to think of stoners as people who get the munchies, eat every carb in the house, and get really fat. I was already fat, so I couldn’t afford to take a chance. I suffered from severe migraines for most of my life out of fear that smoking cannabis would make me fatter.
Fast forward to today and experience has changed my mind. People who smoke cannabis might eat more than others, but somehow their bodies metabolize food better, and they end up with a smaller waistline. The only adverse effect is a temporary, yet significant drop in insulin. I tried it for migraines. It worked, and I didn’t get fat.
My intuition told me to stay away from sunscreen
I found the smell of sunscreen repulsive and had an aversion to using it. Despite pleas from friends, parents, and girlfriends, I refused to wear it until television advertisements scared me into believing I’d get cancer otherwise. I wore sunscreen a few times until I couldn’t bring myself to open the bottle. Today, I’m aware that my instincts were right. Two chemicals in sunscreen – retinol and retinyl palmitate – react negatively in sunlight and become toxic to the human body.
Other chemicals in sunscreen have never been proven safe, and dermatologist Bernard Ackerman, MD told The New York Times there’s no evidence that exposure to the sun causes cancer, or that sunscreens protect against melanoma. I’m inclined to side with Dr. Ackerman.
All along, we’ve been told that terrible things will happen if we allow our skin to be exposed to the sun. Terrible things, indeed, like the synthesis of Vitamin D – the nutrient necessary for a healthy immune system.
Despite our body’s need for vitamin D, there’s research to show how vitamin D supplements can be toxic. However, vitamin D itself isn’t toxic. Many nutrients, including vitamin D, are synthesized inside the body with a specific match to DNA; synthetic supplements aren’t recognized by the body and are often treated as toxins or ignored.
Essential vitamin D is synthesized through the skin, a process activated by exposing the skin to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Sunscreen blocks this process.
It’s curious the way people dismiss the potential harm of absorbing chemicals into the body through the skin. It’s easy to forget that skin is the body’s largest organ, and anything you rub into your skin will quickly enter the bloodstream.
Today I look for research from multiple countries
Today, we’re aware of the dangers of not getting enough “good” fat, like what’s found in butter and avocado. We also know that cholesterol is a substance vital to every cell in the body including the brain. Cholesterol levels don’t cause harm, but the size, shape, and ratio of the particles can.
The media is quick to announce what’s safe and what should be avoided. Science takes a while to catch up. With myths are being turned around years later, it’s important to remember that even the most detailed scientific study only tells part of the story and time will reveal the truth.
This content made possible by site supporter Larry Alton.
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