Toxic Clothing- Dr. Brian and Dr. Anna Maria Clement

I’m sure by now we have all heard of toxic smells, chemicals and pesticides that we should never ingest, but have you ever heard of Toxic Clothing? There used to be a time when clothing was made up of natural fibers that were safe for our skin and our bodies. What many of us have not given thought to is what our clothing now of days is made up of, how is it dyed, what animal are we wearing? Dr. Brian and Dr. Anna Maria Clement are doctors known all around the world. They are most popularly known for operating the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, but are also known for all of the amazing studies they have conducted, the books they have written and the lectures that they have taught. Their background is quite amazing and is something that has inspired us to listen to what they are saying. What Dr. Brian and Dr. Anna Maria Clement have shared about the way clothing is impacting all individuals is really quite amazing and we would now like to share what we have learned with all of our readers!

Did you know that many years ago, the way our clothing was dyed was by natural sources, usually food! The colours of the clothing used to come from vegetables like beets and carrots. Now our clothing is dyed with extremely toxic chemicals that soak right into our skin and our pores. Almost all dyes used typically for clothing, especially commercially-made clothing are synthetic, not made from natural sources. They are made from chemicals that ultimately derive from either coal or petroleum. Dr. Brian Clement tells us that almost all man made bras for woman contain high amounts of oil! That’s right, oil… just like the stuff we put in our cars and this is what is soaking through our pores and into our blood stream. Dr. Brian and Anna Maria also speak about underwear that many women are wearing these days that are advertised to be sexy and fashionable but many of these are made with spandex and other materials that create heat in the genital region and cause many infections such as yeast infections. It is recommended to search for cotton undergarments for both men and woman to avoid harsh chemicals and possibilities of health risks and infections.

Brian and Anna Maria also urge parents to avoid children’s clothing that contains heavy dyes and plastic prints – including those from big fashion brands – because they are likely to contain potentially harmful chemicals. Things to watch for and research when purchasing clothing for children and adults are: dyes, plastic prints, water and oil repellent materials, antibacterial and deodorizing materials and Dacron fabric. Plastic prints might contain phthalate plasticizers, while perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are usually found in materials designed to repel oil and water. These two chemicals and NPE might interfere with the hormone system and affect reproductive and immune systems which is definitely not something that we want to affect ourselves or our children. These chemicals are not only being used in clothing but also in baby diapers, menstrual pads and tampons etc. These are things that we need to make ourselves aware of and change in our lives to ensure longer healthier lives.

Dr. Brian Clement speaks to the fact that the clothing industry today is a seven trillion dollar a year industry that uses an astounding 8,000 synthetic chemicals. Consumers have been taught to believe the illusion that synthetic fibers in clothing are safe. For over half a century people have been reacting negatively to chemicals interacting with their skin causing disorders like infertility, respiratory diseases, contact dermatitis and, yes, even cancer but we haven’t ever considered the fact that this is simply being caused by the clothing that we dress ourselves in each and every day. The more synthetic clothing we wear, the greater our risk of absorbing toxic chemicals that can precipitate health conditions most often caused by synthetic fibers.

The facts really are quite scary, but thankfully, the solution is not a difficult one! It really is quite easy! All we have to do is STOP wearing synthetic fibers and synthetic clothing… it’s that simple! Sure, this may require a little more thought or consideration when going shopping for clothes but if it is going to affect our overall health, here at Upaya Naturals, we would say it is definitely worth it!! To learn more about all the toxins in our clothing and what we can do to change our lifestyle, check out Dr. Brian Clement and Dr. Anna Maria’s book Killer Clothes. This book reveals in unprecedented detail the toxic truth about the clothes we wear and the surprising number of harmful effects on health caused by garments once considered safe. Readers will learn about the dozens of substances that pose a threat to both human and environmental health and what can be done to protect themselves. We all want to live long healthy lives so if that comes with having to change our attire just a little, we think that’s a pretty small price to pay for such a large benefit!

Animals Series-Part 3-Dogs

For the third and final part of our animal series, the next staff favorite at Upaya Naturals is one that many people also favour. An animal that many of us have as pets and care for often as one of our own. That’s rights, dogs! So cute and cuddly, so happy to see us when we come through the door after a long day at work and school, loyal beyond belief and so courageous and protective of their families. There are so many characteristics of a dog that we all love and value but what a lot of us don’t know or may not realize is that all over the world, there are people who treat dogs the exact opposite as we would as pets.

In Canada, United States and many other countries around the world, people see dogs as domesticated animals often kept as pets and cared for as members of our families. But in other areas around the world and even in our own countries, there are traumatic things that happen to our furry little friends.

When we purchase a puppy from a pet store, we see a cute little animal that we want to take home, but what a lot of us don’t know is where the puppy came from and where he or she was bred. Before animals are put up for sale in a pet store, they have to be bred and born somewhere first. Most often, these puppies come from places called puppy mills. Puppy mills are sometimes known as puppy farms and these are a commercial dog breeding facility that is operated with an emphasis upon profits above animal welfare and is often in substandard conditions regarding the well-being of dogs in their care. In puppy mills, females are sometimes bred every time they are in heat to increase profits, resulting in gradually decreasing sizes of litters. As puppies, mill dogs are also often weaned from their mothers well before the eight to ten weeks recommended. Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization. Puppy mill dogs do not receive adequate attention, exercise or basic grooming. To minimize waste cleanup, dogs are often kept in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs. It is not unusual for cages to be stacked up in columns. Breeder dogs at mills might spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements, or kept inside indoor cages all their lives. Often, after the breeder dog has reached the age of 4 years, they are no longer needed and killed.

Another unsettling fact that most of us did not know is that although “dog fighting” is illegal, certain levels of the act “dog baiting” is not. Dog baiting is a traumatic and abusive act that takes place before a dog fight. A bait dog is basically a punching bag for game (fighting) dogs. Except we all know that dogs don’t punch, they bite and tear. Dog fighters use bait dogs to let their game dogs practice mutilating another dog, without being harmed in the process. To insure their dogs aren’t damaged, they will either use duct tape to tape the bait dog’s mouth shut, or break out their teeth so the bait dog can’t fight back. They also either, put them in a pit, or tie them to a tree or pole, so that they can’t get away from the game dogs. And yes, we did say dogs, plural, because they generally unleash several dogs on one bait dog at the same time. It makes the game dogs more aggressive, since there is competition. The mass majority of bait dogs don’t survive, and obviously suffer horrible deaths, spending their last moments in excruciating pain and are scared to death, before it comes. The ones who do survive, are maimed and scarred for life, both physically and emotionally. A bait dog can be any dog.  It could be your dog. Although they (those who run and organize the dog fighting) prefer to use non-aggressive or submissive Pit Bulls, they will easily use any dog they can get for free. When they get Pit Bulls who won’t fight, or don’t fight well, they use them for bait dogs. These people are well known for stealing other people’s pet Bull Dogs as well. They will take the dogs right out of people’s yards if they can. But, they will also take any other dog they can get their hands on. In their eyes, when it comes down to it, they need fur, flesh, blood and meat to replicate a dog fight, so anything with all of that is fair game. This is by far one of the highest acts of animal cruelty and it must be stopped!

One final unsettling fact that many of us don’t know about dogs (and even cats) is that quite often, when making faux fur, the fur of dogs and sometimes cats is used. So many people around the world think that they are doing the animal population a favour by purchasing faux fur instead of the real thing but what many don’t realize is that the fur in “faux” fur is still in fact fur and has to come from somewhere. The source? Dogs and cats. This fur can also come from other animals but most commonly it is dog fur used for faux. There have many in depth investigations that have lead to evidence showing that many animals are still alive and struggling desperately when workers flip them onto their backs or hang them up by their legs or tails to skin them. When workers on these farms begin to cut the skin and fur from an animal’s leg, the free limbs kick and writhe. Workers stomp on the necks and heads of animals who struggle too hard to allow a clean cut. Before they are skinned alive, animals are pulled from their cages and thrown to the ground; workers bludgeon them with metal rods or slam them on hard surfaces, causing broken bones and convulsions but not always immediate death. Animals watch helplessly as workers make their way down the row. When the fur is finally peeled off over the animals’ heads, their naked, bloody bodies are thrown onto a pile of those who have gone before them. Some are still alive, breathing in ragged gasps and blinking slowly. Some of the animals’ hearts are still beating five to 10 minutes after they are skinned. 1PETA (2014).  “A Shocking look into Chinese fur farms” [Online].  Available:  http://features.peta.org/ChineseFurFarms/ and 1YahooShine (2013).  “Your fake fur might actually be real dog” [Online].  Available:  http://shine.yahoo.com/the-thread-how-to/fake-fur-might-actually-real-dog-183400949.html.

Obviously this is a process that we think everyone can agree is traumatic, cruel, abusive and the list goes on. This is something that no animal should EVER endure, but as long a people continue to purchase furs of any kind, these acts will not stop.

We can make a difference! What can we do? Well, the next time you or your family and friends may be considering a puppy or a family dog, why not try adopting or rescuing? This gives hope to animals and gives them the love and the chance at life that they deserve. Thinking fashion? Don’t buy fur! There are so many other trendy looks out there that do not involve furs of any kind and still look fashionable and stylish. Take a stand for dogs along with us at Upaya Naturals!

This three part series has been such a journey and so educational. We have learned many things and we really hope that our readers have too! We would like to promote equality for people and animals alike. We would do it for ourselves, so why not for animals too? It doesn’t take a lot of work or effort, just a sound mind and a heart that wants to help!

Animal Series- Part 2- Pigs

As you may know by now, the staff at Upaya Naturals are big animals lovers and in continuation to our 3 part series, our next staff favorite is Pigs! The US Humane Society says that pigs are one of the smartest animals on Earth—brainier than dogs or three-year-old children! These gentle animals naturally form close-knit groups led by females who raise their young together. Sadly, millions of pigs live abysmal lives on factory farms. We can make a difference for pigs all around the world and provide them with safe and comfortable homes and lives.

The common misconception about pigs is that they are dirty animals that “pig out”, roll in the mud and represent the term “raised in a barn”. But what most people don’t know is that the stereotypes surrounding pigs are not true, in fact, they are the complete opposite.

Check out this list courtesy of PETA of things we are pretty sure most people don’t know about pigs!

  1. Pigs snuggle close to one another and prefer to sleep nose to nose. They dream, much as humans do. In their natural surroundings, pigs spend hours playing, sunbathing, and exploring. People who run animal sanctuaries for farmed animals often report that pigs, like humans, enjoy listening to music, playing with soccer balls, and getting massages.
  2. Pigs communicate constantly with one another; more than 20 vocalizations have been identified that pigs use in different situations, from wooing mates to saying, “I’m hungry!”
  3. Pigs do not “eat like pigs” or “pig out.” They prefer to eat slowly and savor their food.
  4. Newborn piglets learn to run to their mothers’ voices and to recognize their own names. Mother pigs sing to their young while nursing.
  5. Pigs are clean animals. If given sufficient space, they will be careful not to soil the area where they sleep or eat. Pigs don’t “sweat like pigs”; they are actually unable to sweat. They like to bathe in water or mud to keep cool, and they actually prefer water to mud. One woman developed a shower for her pigs, and they learned to turn it on and off by themselves.

Winston Churchill once said “Dogs look up to man. Cats look down to man. Pigs look us straight in the eye and see an equal.” Humans and animals have coexisted for years and with all of this new information we are learning, we can see that animals are more like us than we may have ever known. After learning all of this, how can we still allow these animals to undergo such traumatic treatment, abuse and death just for us to put a ham out on special occasions? The procedure to kill a pig for a meal is devastating and extremely unsettling. If we wouldn’t want this for one of our own, how could we allow this for harmless, intelligent animals?

When a pig is in preparation to be made into bacon, ham, pork chops etc, the process is blood curdling. Piglets have eight needle sharp teeth that can cut the mothers utters so in the process of feeding and growth, farmers and owners break these teeth off with a pair of pliers because injuries that these teeth can cause can result in a profit loss for the farmer. Unbelievable. Piglets also have their tails cut off with no pain relief. Farmers will then cut chunks of flesh from the piglets ears strictly to represent their litter number- each pig gets their own individual “notch” at the farmers call it. All male piglets are then castrated in order to prevent “boar taint,” a strong odor associated with the flesh from intact males, and considered offensive. (Boar taint is prohibited by food quality regulations in many countries). This is done without any freezing or pain relief as farmers say this is “too costly”.

We cannot pay people to inflict unnecessary violence on animals, and then make the case that those animals should not experience unnecessary suffering. It is  morally inconsistent, and therefore an ignorable position, one that it is easy for producers and most consumers to dismiss. Because if animals’ lives don’t even matter enough for us to spare them when we have plentiful alternatives, then on what grounds could their suffering possibly be said to matter?
So what can we do to help? To put an end to this cruelty? First, it may suggest revising our diets to eliminate pork. Removing pork from diets all around the world will greatly impact the demand and ultimately reduce the need for pork all together which will cut down on this devastating torture. We can also consider the fact that we can maintain the existence of pigs in a different way. Pigs can be raised in homes and given the same love and care that we provide out other family pets with. Pigs love attention just as a dog or cat does and would likely love nothing more than a warm blanket to lay on at night, fresh food for meals and a family that cares for them instead of tortures them.
Upaya Naturals has made the resolution to spread the word about the trauma happening to animals around the world and we believe that with the help of our friends, families, readers and customers, we can help eliminate animal cruelty and torture and begin a road to recovery. If we would do it for another person, we can do this for animals! Help us in taking a stand!

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.  – Mahatma Gandhi

Animal Series- Part 1- Elephants

The staff at Upaya Naturals are big animal lovers and believe that animals should be treated with just as much respect and dignity that we expect other humans to be treated with. Humans and animals have coexisted on the planet for ages, however; nowadays, animals are being taken advantage of, pushed towards extinction, tortured and manipulated. We believe that this cruelty should be stopped and this three part series will focus on three specific animals that have been chosen by our staff.  Our goal is to educate our readers as well as enlighten them and raise an interest in helping support animals.

Elephants, largest of all land animals, are among the most recognizable and beloved creatures on Earth. Their ancestors once roamed most of the planet, but wild populations are now confined to decreasing swaths of land in Africa and Asia. Hunted mercilessly for their prized ivory tusks, they are under threat in most of their range from poaching, habitat loss, and human encroachment and are listed as threatened by the IUCN.

When people think of elephants, often times they think of large animals who are used for entertainment. But what most people don’t know is that elephants are so much like humans! Humans and elephants co-evolved in Africa from earlier species. Humans have always lived alongside these amazing beings, and we share much in common with them. Both elephant and human young take a long time to mature. Both share complex social networks. Both communicate in a myriad of ways with fellow species members. Both mourn their dead. As with humans, elephant behaviour varies through time and space via patterns of behaviour taught from generation to generation. As with humans, behaviour also adapts as conditions change, and breaking the flow of information leads to what have been similarly characterized as social problems. Therefore, just like humans, elephant behaviour can be seen as cultural. Elephants and their kin, the mammoths, have been a successful taxonomic family, covering much of the earth, but their numbers declined as human populations increased, with co-existence in some areas, and extinction in others. We are the main driver pushing them towards extinction. We are wiping them out, generation by generation. Elephant numbers plummeted throughout the 20th century, and although there are success stories, the trend is downwards, as we kill them for their tusks, drive them out of their homes, and fight them for our crops. In order to make sure that elephants get a fair chance of making it to the 22nd century, understanding the interrelations between humans and elephants is critical. In order to provide the respect and quality of life our fellow beings deserve requires that we take the utmost pains in finding out under what conditions elephants are healthiest, and how humans can best facilitate the maintenance of these conditions. What works in one area may not work in another, but we have an ethical obligation to both humans and elephants to find ways of creating and maintaining spaces where both species can thrive, and where interactions are more beneficial than detrimental.

So back to that entertainment thought. For most, when they think of elephants, they think of the Circus. The Circus has been know as a joyful event to attend for adults and children of all ages. But most are not aware of the hours, days and years of suffering and abuse that circus elephants are forced to endure in order to “perform”. The Ringling Circus was a world renowned circus recognized all around the world for their level of entertainment and skill level. What that are currently known for is the disturbing amount of abuse and torture that they caused their circus elephants. Elephants are creatures of nature and just like you and I, we were not born to maneuver our bodies in ways others can’t imagine…Especially at their size. All of the elephants’ movements and ‘tricks’ seen at the circus are unnatural and are forced upon these beautiful creatures. The trainer’s key tool… The Bullhook. The bullhook is a training device used to train and control elephants. Both ends of the bullhook are used to inflict damage. The hook is used to apply varying degrees of pressure to sensitive spots on an elephant’s body, causing the elephant to move away from the source of discomfort. When the hooked end is held, the handle can be used as a club, inducing substantial pain when the elephant is struck in areas where little tissue separates skin and bone.

A baby elephant is trained at Ringling's breeding center.

 The above photo is considered “Basic Training” by Ringling.

For the Ringling Circus to force their elephants to perform, they have crew members that they refer to as ‘trainers’ start the torture from the moment a baby elephant is born. Once pulled form their mothers, baby elephants are restrained by four legs on a concrete floor in a barn for up to 23 hours a day to break their spirits and are never allowed to play outdoors. Chaining a curious and energetic baby elephant for such lengthy periods is psychologically devastating. The babies often incur painful lesions from straining against ropes tightly cinched around their legs. It may take up to six months before they finally give up and stop struggling. Baby elephants are captured rodeo-style, roped around all four legs, tethered neck-to-neck to an “anchor” elephant, and dragged from their mothers. From this point forward in their lives, every movement, every instinct, and every natural behavior is subjected to suppression and discipline at the whim of the trainer. Initial training involves introducing baby elephants to the bullhook while taking them on short walks in the barn. They are surrounded by six or seven people and tethered neck-to-neck with an “anchor” elephant. Ringling never reveals the violence and trauma involved in pulling baby elephants from the nurturing care of their mothers, instead claiming, “The calves let us know when they are ready to move to the next social level, usually between 18 and 22 months old, when they no longer rely on their mothers for their nutrition and start showing signs of independence.” “Then basic training is over and it’s time for full-fledged training. Full-fledged training sessions last 1 1/2 to 2 hours each, twice per day, until they get it right.”  says Sam Haddock- former Ringling trainer. Sam also says “During these training sessions, the baby is screaming and struggling the whole time. The bullhook is designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to inflict pain and punishment. I should know. I used to make them. I built them to where you can’t break them, no matter how hard you hit the elephant.” Sam left the Ringling circus because he says he couldn’t handle inflicting the pain on such magnificent creatures.

All of this unsettling information is hidden from the general public and will continue to be unless we can make a stand. So long as we continue to visit the circus, we are allowing these trainers to continue the torture. We have learned here that elephants are just like us in more ways that we could have ever imagined and we owe it to them to give them safe and happy lives. Not all homes for elephants are bad or cruel, for instance the elephant sanctuary in Tennessee which gives elephants an enormous sanctuary for safe and enjoyable living with safe health care and nurturing environments. Los Angeles has banned the use of bull hooks in the entire state which has now prevented any circus from coming back into their town. If they can make a stand, we can to! So what can we do from here? Well, in the future, instead of visiting a circus where we now know the animals are tortured to perform the way that they do, why not check out a human circus like cirque du soleil. This amazing circus is performed by only humans who willing train at their own pace to entertain the world and is truly amazing. There are so many ways that we can give back to elephants in the form of donations, educating others, protesting and holding strong to our beliefs!

I am a Upaya Naturals staff member and my favorite animals are elephants. My New Year’s Resolution is to spread the word about what is happening to elephants around the world and educate as many people as I can. If Tarra and Bella can coexist so happily in the video below, I think we can too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAN5nf04L2s