Tattoos & Your Health.

by Jeremy Michaels

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Tattoos have become widely popular among all age groups as a form of personal artistic expression, but are they safe?

Many people believe that tattoo ink is made from vegetable dye but the truth is that most tattoo pigments are made up of metals, salts and sometimes plastics that is dissolved in a solvent liquid carrier solution that the pigment is suspended in to help move the ink through the needle to the skin.

The carriers (considered safe) can be made from:

  • Ethyl alcohol (ethanol). Nervous system very sensitive to low levels of exposure; kids – lowered IQ, learning and behavioral problems; adults – memory loss, inebriation, liver disease, cancer.
  • Witch hazel.
  • Glycerin.
  • Listerine.
  • Propylene glycol.

They limit infection and prevent contamination.

Carriers may also be made of non-desirable sources:

  • Denatured alcohols. Highly toxic and may be fatal if inhaled, ingested or absorbed through skin.
  • Methyl alcohol. Repeated contact can cause skin cracking and dryness, possible liver damage, headaches, dizziness and even death.
  • Methanol. Can effect the nervous system, but is water soluble so washes out fairly quickly.
  • Isopropyl alcohol. The CDC suggests preventing skin contact. Can cause irritation to skin, eyes, nose, throat, dizziness, headache and dry cracking skin.
  • Ethylene glycol (antifreeze). Not intended for internal or topical use on humans. Can cause acute toxicity by dermal exposure. Also can cause lesions and reproductive issues – it has not yet been classified for cancer risk.
  • Formaldehyde. Some individuals may experience adverse effects such as watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing; wheezing, nausea, and skin irritation. Possible carcinogen. Alcohol increases the absorption through the skin, which results in more chemicals getting in your blood stream.

In the United States, tattoo ink is subject to enforcement though the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the same classification as cosmetics and color additives. But… the FDA has never approved any color or pigment for injection into the skin. It has been pointed out by the FDA and medical professionals that the inks are industrial strength colors suitable for printer ink or automotive paint and not for injection into the human body.

In California, Proposition 65 requires that tattoo artists warn customers that the tattoo ink may contain heavy metals known to cause cancer, birth defects, endocrine disrupters and other reproductive issues. Most other states remain unregulated and potential clients uninformed by the shops and artists.

Ingredients are not required to be listed on inks at all by law and are most often listed simply as proprietary blends. They can contain literally any chemical, including those known to be mutagenic (capable of causing mutations) and carcinogenic (capable of causing cancer). Tattoo artists and tattoo clients, the general public, do not often have any way of knowing for sure what exactly is in the ink.

Any time you inject anything in to your skin you risk infection.

The shop might be spotless, the artist may do everything right, you can still get an infection from contaminated ink.

Tattoo machines puncture the skin 3000 times a minute with each poke leaving a hole 1/64th to 1/16th of an inch in diameter. Tattoo guns work much like a sewing machine piercing the skin over and over again depositing ink to achieve the desired design and effects. The wounds do scab over rather quickly but can still get infected during or after the healing process.

The following are some of the heavy metals in tattoo ink and why some of these metals can be dangerous:

  • Mercury. A neurotoxin, meaning it has detrimental effects on the nervous system. It can damage the brain and lead to physical and emotional disorders.
  • Lead. Interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many of the body’s organs and tissues, including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, nervous and reproductive systems. In severe cases, lead poisoning symptoms can include seizures, coma and death. Other symptoms commonly associated with lead exposure include abdominal pain, confusion, headache, anemia and irritability.
  • Beryllium. Listed as a Class A EPA-carcinogen. Exposure can cause chronic beryllium disease, an often-fatal lung disease.
  • Cadmium. A heavy metal that poses severe risks to human health, including kidney, bone, and pulmonary damage.
  • Arsenic. A known carcinogen, and new studies have also found that exposure to higher levels of arsenic leads to genetic damage.
  • Antimony. Exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, skin and lungs. As the exposure continues, more serious problems may occur, such as lung diseases, heart problems, diarrhea, severe vomiting and stomach ulcers.
  • Iron oxide. Also known as “rust”. Minimal if any health risks.
  • Cobalt. In small amounts cobalt can be beneficial to the body. In larger amounts however, it can be dangerous causing nausea, vision issues, heart problems and thyroid damage.
  • Nickel. Small quantities are safe. An uptake of too large quantities of nickel has the following consequences: Higher chances of development of lung cancer, nose cancer, larynx cancer and prostate cancer, Sickness and dizziness after exposure to nickel gas, Birth defects, asthma and chronic bronchitis, allergic reactions such as skin rashes, mainly from jewelry, and even heart disorders.
  • Aluminum. Has been linked directly to Alzheimer’s disease and cancer as well as heavy metal toxicity and sickness.

Although most tattoo ink manufacturers consider their ingredient list proprietary information, some brands do release this information and make an effort to produce only nontoxic inks. Some of the tattoo ink manufacturers with the best policies regarding nontoxic inks, according to How-To-Tattoo.com, include National Tattoo Supply, Eternal, Skin Candy, Dynamic and Kuro Sumi, all of which make significant efforts to ensure safe, as non-toxic as possible tattoo inks.

It is an unsolved topic of debate between medical professionals as well as tattoo artists as to if the metals contained in the inks dissipate over time or keep leaching from the tattoo into the rest of the body over the course of the person’s life. The safety and levels are difficult to study given other environmental exposures as to what is a direct result of tattooing.

If you do have or decide to do a tattoo, consider doing an internal cleanse as well as incorporating eating very healthy greens such as spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass, chlorophyll, parsley and cilantro to detoxify the heavy metals in your body system.

 

How To Lose Weight & Get Lean?

by Jeremy Michaels

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I’ve gone from overweight to normal weight to pretty fit in the last decade, and I’m sometimes asked what someone should eat and do if they want to lose weight and get lean.

Though I’m currently in the process to getting even more leaner, I know the dos and don’ts and did my hard research on nutrition and fitness.

Now there are many diets: Atkins, Mediterranean, South Beach, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, and a handful of others. But diets are not realistic because diets don’t work for everyone. Instead you should forget the simple diet plans and just focus on properly eating healthy and properly exercising.

Create your own meal plans as a nutritional list and create your own workout plan for weight loss, getting fit and lean.

I should note that what works for me or someone else might be different than what works for you and others. Everybody has a different metabolism, different body and ultimately different health. So it’s best to experiment what works for you when it comes to certain healthy quality foods and certain workouts.

The easiest thing to do is focus on eating the right quality foods and avoid eating the wrong foods. And focus on doing the right workouts and avoid wasting time on the wrong workouts or spending too much time on the same routines.

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Losing weight = burning more calories than you eat. It might seem simple, but if you’re not educated on food and nutrition, and fitness, you won’t succeed.

There are 3 principles you must know for weight loss:

  • Know the healthy foods that cause accelerating fat burning in your body.
  • Know the unhealthy particular foods that are preventing you from burning fat or making you gain weight.
  • Know how to properly exercise to lose your body fat percentage and build lean muscle.

I will explain in detail how to quickly and effectively lose weight and stay lean for the rest of your life…

1 – Do NOT diet. I repeat, DO NOT DIET! Most diet plans force you to cut calories until you’re practically starving. Diets aren’t realistic for the long term and are just quick fixes that will set you up for binge eating and weight gain in the future. Diets simply don’t work because everybody has a different metabolism rate. It’s NOT about dieting, it’s about the 3 principles above. It’s about the quality of food you have to eat and it’s metabolic enhancing effect on your body. It’s about the metabolic density training workouts you have to do to have your body adjusted to fat burning on it’s own. It’s about adjusting to healthy eating fitness lifestyle.

Focus on eating healthy aka high quality foods. Simply because eating healthy is how to effectively lose weight and get lean. Eating healthy just means eating natural and organic wholesome foods that have the daily vitamins and minerals, amounts of fiber, protein and good fats your body needs.

  • Avoid sugar. Keep your sugar intake extremely low. Completely avoid empty calories such as added sugary foods and drinks. The more intake of sugar, the more your blood sugar spikes, releasing insulin which makes it very difficult for you to lose weight. Sugar = the number one enemy of weight loss. Sugar is also the main ingredient of how you get chronic inflammatory disease.
  • Avoid certain food additives and preservatives. There are chemicals in our food that make it almost impossible for us to lose weight. Things like artificial sweeteners, artificial colorings, artificial flavorings, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fat, aspartame, etc. are all things to look out for. Completely eliminate them all. Eat organic and natural foods.
  • Eliminate white flour and the wrong starchy high carb foods. Starchy foods such as white rice, white pasta and corn will make you gain weight and makes it difficult for you to lose weight. Eat resistant starches that are high on fiber such as beans, peas, oats, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, brown rice, lentils, spelt, rye, millet and bananas, which resists being digested right away, contain fewer calories and help prevent quick blood sugar spikes. These resistant starches have lots of fiber and make you lose weight. Fiber is what makes you full and effectively lose weight. Foods high on fiber are mostly certain vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
  • Avoid processed foods. If you’re cooking food in a microwave or toaster, or it’s in a box or can, it’s most likely processed food that contain the food additives and preservatives explained above. Go back to the old fashioned cooking fresh food. To effectively lose weight and get lean, you must eliminate processed food! More importantly, eliminating processed food decreases your chance of heart disease, diabetes and cancer by 60%.
  • Know the good fats vs. bad fats. An example of good fats are avocado, eggs, butter, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, greek yogurt, chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, chia seed, and flaxseed. An example of bad fats is margarine, canola oil, fried foods, mayonnaise, bacon, flour, milk, chocolate and cream.
  • Eat foods that are proven to make you lose weight, that boost and speed up your metabolism, which are mostly high on fiber, low in sugar/carbs, contain healthy fats and are natural organic wholesome foods: Avocados, spinach, broccoli, olives, walnuts, almonds, salmon, chia seeds, flax seeds, oatmeal, red chili peppers, jalapeno peppers, green tea, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, quinoa, brown rice, beans, plain greek yogurt, most other vegetables, most other fruits, most other whole grains, etc.
  • Eat vegetables and fruits daily. Make sure you get your daily vegetables and fruits. Eat 6 servings of vegetables a day. And eat 3 servings of fruit a day. Also juicing/blending vegetables and fruits can be very beneficial to both getting lean, losing weight and for your health. Vegetables and fruits have the vitamins, minerals and fiber you need to lose weight, maintain your lean and make you feel full.
  • Eat breakfast. It’s a proven fact that people who eat breakfast have a better shot at losing and maintaining weight loss. Eat a big breakfast, medium lunch, and a small dinner, with snacks in between.
  • Completely eliminate fast food. Fast foods are genetically modified (GMO) and mostly contain trans fat, MSG, and the food additives and preservatives explained above, that will make it difficult for you to lose weight. Fast foods are also loaded with the bad fats, high sodium, high carbs, added sugars and high cholesterol.
  • Completely eliminate fried foods. You may be used to eating fried foods but the process of frying will make you gain weight. Frying food causes food to absorb more fat and calories. The wrong fat that is. Also the most common frying oils are vegetable oils and canola oils which are a big no-no when it comes to your health and weight loss. Stick to grilling, roasting, braising, steaming, broiling, boiling, simmering, poaching, baking and stewing.
  • Eat protein. Green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, lean beef, pork, milk, greek yogurt, etc. Note that you should always select lean meats. Completely avoid processed meats such as bologna, salami, bacon, sausage, hotdogs, etc. Limit your protein from animal products and dairy to 2-3 times a week, and eat more protein from green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and seeds.
  • Cook with the right herbs, spices and oils. Believe it or not, but using the wrong oils will make you gain weight and cooking with the right oils will help you lose weight and maintain your lean. Use healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil and hemp oil – instead of vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil, corn oil, grape seed oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil. Use herbs and spices that are known for many healthy benefits and speed up your metabolism such as garlic, mint, oregano, mustard seeds, dill, parsley, cilantro, poppy seeds, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger and marjoram.
  • Beware of “fat-free” or “low fat” or “reduced fat” or “sugar free” foods as you could be trading good fats for huge amounts of sugar, sodium and chemicals. When it comes to “good fats” always choose whole fat.
  • Avoid pills, supplements, detox cleanses and fasting for weight loss. Most of these so called “weight loss” products will make you lose weight unhealthily and the wrong way and make you gain it all back or more at the end with disease or side effects. These scams are out for your money and don’t care about your health. Don’t fall to their slick advertising tricks, publicity, google searches, marketing and celebrity endorsements. “Detox cleanses” are very good for your body for overall health but it’s not consistent for a weight loss goal. “Fasting” is not good at all because then you’ll be starving yourself which makes your body go into fat storing mode. Supplements are synthetic versions of vitamins and food and it’s proven not to be too effective and consistent for health nor weight loss in the long run. One should adjust to a healthy eating lifestyle and exercise to properly and effectively lose weight and stay lean.
  • Avoid over the counter drugs and pharmaceutical drugs. Drugs are not meant for your body and are highly toxic. Most of them have dangerous side effects including weight gain and disease. Completely stay away from drugs!
  • Lastly, do not count calories, carbs or fat! Ever! There’s no need to count anything when all you have to do is just monitor what you eat by eliminating the bad stuff and focus on eating the good stuff.

2 – Workouts for weight loss and to get lean. Strength training, cardiovascular workouts, high intensity workouts, and participating in sports are king to help you lose weight and get lean.

  • Strength training. Strength training helps you lose fat without losing muscle, and makes you gain muscle. It gets you strong and feeling empowered and confident. This is important for both men and women. I recommend starting with bodyweight exercises (calisthenics) like push-ups, squats, jumps, lunges, and pull ups then slowly adjusting your body to weight lifting. Weight lifting with dumbbells, barbells and/or workout machines are great to get leaner and burn fat.
  • Cardio. Cardiovascular workouts such as jogging, biking, power walking, swimming, running on the treadmill, hiking, etc. are good to get your heart healthy and you can burn fat and maintain your lean. However it’s important you pair cardio with strength training/weight lifting for weight loss and to get lean. Cardio alone or too much steady cardio will not make you see the results you want to see.
  • High intensity workouts. Now these are king for weight loss and getting leaner. One should focus on metabolic density training workouts which are high intense short burst workouts that focus on your whole body that send your metabolism sky high. After high intense short burst workouts, your body will burn fat for 36 hours after you exercise. You will see weight loss results immediately and you will adjust your body to burn fat and tone on it’s own when you’re consistent. Your high intense short burst workouts should include overtime push-ups, squats, lunges, jumps, planks, jumping jacks, burpees, leg raises, and different aerobic exercise and body movements that focus on a fast paced total body workout.
  • Conclusion. Exercise is an important weight loss tool and how much you need varies from person to person. If you’re a beginner, start small at 3 days a week and gradually add time and more strength training workouts, cardio and high intense short burst workouts to give your body time to adapt. Any strength training paired with cardio and high intense short burst workout that stresses on total body and an increased heart rate will always help you lose weight quickly and keep it off.

3 – Drink water. You’ll be amazed by how much weight you drop by simply switching to water. Completely eliminate soda! And limit your juice. Water kick starts your metabolism, helps build muscle, moistens your intestines helping dispose waste that would otherwise be stored as fat, is necessary for proper digestion, helps the liver function, washes toxins out of the body and makes you feel full. Don’t confuse thirst with hunger – drink a glass of water when you feel hungry to see if that’s what you’re really craving.

4 – Get enough sleep. Without sleep, it’s harder to plan your meals, to exercise, or to consciously eat healthy. Also when you sleep less, you’ll eat more and crave more since you have more time to eat. When you sleep more, you’ll get the rest and energy your body needs.

5 – Make one change at a time. Don’t cut everything out at once. For example, cut out fried foods. When you’re used to that, cut out fast foods. After you’re used to that cut out soda, then processed foods, then white rice, and so on… Also don’t start doing heavy weights, 5 mile runs and high intensity short burst workouts out of no where. Slowly adjust your body to it and then be consistently consistent.

6 – Don’t EVER starve yourself! Skipping meals can cause your body to go into a fat storing starvation mode, making it harder to burn calories, making it even harder for you to lose weight, making you gain excessive weight. When you skip meals, your body stops breaking down fat and starts breaking down muscle tissue. Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than other tissues, so you will working against your goals this way. When you’re hungry, your body conserves calories and slows down your metabolic process.

7 – Most importantly, remember to keep your goals in sight and motivate yourself. Motivation is the first step to losing weight.
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15 Things Happy People Do Differently.

by Jeremy Michaels

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Happiness is a choice. The following are 15 things happy people do differently than those who are unhappy and/or miserable:

1 – LOVE vs. FEAR & HATE. People who are really happy fear less and love more. They see each moment, each challenge, and each person as an opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them. Hate is non-existent.

2 – ACCEPTANCE vs. RESISTANCE. Happy people understand that you can’t really change a situation by resisting it, but you can change it by accepting that it’s there. More so, happy people strive for understanding that there might be a reason for its existence. When something unpleasant happens to happy people, they don’t try to fight it, knowing a fight will make the situation worse. Instead, they ask themselves questions like: What can I learn from this? and how can I make this better? They focus on the positive rather than the negative.

3 – FORGIVENESS vs. UNFORGIVENESS. Happy people know it’s not healthy to hold onto anger. They choose to forgive and move forward, understanding that forgiveness is a gift they give themselves.

4 – TRUST vs. DOUBT. Happy people trust themselves. No matter who they encounter, they strive to make the person they’re interacting with feel important. They understand that beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies, and because of that, they make sure to treat everybody with love, dignity, and respect.

5 – MEANING & PURPOSE vs. AMBITION. Happy people do the things they do because of the meaning it brings into their lives; it gives them purpose.  By doing so, they often reach both meaning and success, just because they focus on doing things they love. Money is not a sole motivator.

6 – PRAISING vs. CRITICIZING. Happy people reinforce positive behavior in themselves and other people, and because of that, they often get wanted results.

7 – CHALLENGES vs. PROBLEMS. Happy people see problems as challenges; as opportunities to explore new ways of doing things. They acknowledge even difficult challenges help them grow.

8 – SELFLESSNESS vs. SELFISHNESS. Happy people do things for the good of others. They look for ways to give and share, helping others become happy.

9 – ABUNDANCE vs. LACK/POVERTY. Happy people have an abundant mindset living a balanced life, achieving abundance in all areas of life.

10 – DREAMING BIG vs. BEING REALISTIC. Happy people don’t really care about being realistic. They dare to dream big, listening to their heart and inner intuition. They don’t fear taking risks.

11 – KINDNESS vs. CRUELTY. Happy people are kind to themselves and others. They understand the power of self-love, self-forgiveness, and self-acceptance.

12 – GRATITUDE vs. INGRATITUDE. No matter the circumstance, happy people have the capacity to see beauty, opportunity, abundance, and gratitude. They don’t see the ugly in things.

13 – PRESENCE/ENGAGEMENT vs. DISENGAGEMENT. Happy people know how to live in the present and appreciate what they have and where they are.  At the same time, they are still forward thinking, planning for a successful future.

14 – POSITIVITY vs. NEGATIVITY. No matter what happens, happy people strive to keep a positive perspective on things. They are adamant about surrounding their inner-self with peace and harmony.

15 – TAKING RESPONSIBILITY vs. BLAMING. Happy people take ownership over their lives and rarely use excuses. They understand that the moment you choose to blame an outside force, you are surrendering your power. Blame is a form of weakness.

Are you happy?