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#8: Drinking Water

Water.  Aqua.  H20.   It is essential to life.  Our own bodies are made up of over 60% water!  We need this stuff to live, and to live optimally.  So if you’re drinking water, pat yourself on the back.  You are giving your body the opportunity to stay balanced and function properly.  We couldn’t do much without water, it takes water to breathe, sweat, blink our eyes, speak, and move.  It even takes water to digest and absorb nutrients.  Water also supports our immune function by keeping our lymphatic fluid mobile and, excuse the pun, fluid.  When the body gets dehydrated the lymph fluid doesn’t move as well and as we learned in a previous post, lymph fluid contains health-supporting white blood cells that need to be circulated throughout the body to take care of toxins and abnormal cells that invade our systems.  Water also keeps our elimination system moving, so our waste products don’t stick around longer than they are welcome.  Studies have shown that the longer waste stays in the colon, the greater risk of developing colon cancer. 

Cheers!  Drinking those 8 glasses of water each day is one of the best things you can do for your health.  I always start my day with a big glass of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon which gently wakes up my digestive system and prepares my body and mind for the day. 


But wait - it’s not all sparkling, fresh, blue, cloud dreams here.  Clean water is actually very hard to find.  Did you know there are contaminants in your tap water (and sometimes even your bottled water) that are harmful to your health? Water is such a precious resource to this planet that is often taken for granted and overlooked. 

Pure water is probably more precious than even you realize.   In this country, we know that we have more potable water than most other countries in this world.  And for that we should be grateful.  But who is defining the requirements for drinkable water? What systems are in place to ensure the proper amount of filtration and purification is used before our water makes it into our homes and out of our faucets?  Turns out, the government does the minimum amount of filtration of water before it reaches your home. 

The EPA measures quarterly the amount of these contaminants in our drinking water and posts their results on their website.

Take a look at the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) versus the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL).  The MCLG is the ideal, the ‘goal’ amount of contaminants in which there is no known or expected risk to health.  The actual level, or the MCL, is the level that is actually allowed in drinking water.  Often, these numbers are equal but in many more cases than I feel comfortable with, the actual (MCL) level is higher than the goal (MCLG) levels.  It may seem like trace amounts, but when you are talking about water that we all drink (in some cases 8 glasses per day!), bathe in, cook with, make coffee with, wash dishes with, wash our clothing in, iron clothing with, water our plants and herbs with, and sometimes even clean with, the impact of these trace amounts of contaminants starts adding up quickly. 

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) - The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) - The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.


MCLG (Goal level)

MCL (Actual level allowed)

Potential health effects from long-term exposure above MCL

Sources of Contaminant

Beta particles and photon emitters

zero 4 millirems per year Increased risk of cancer Decay of natural and manmade deposits of certain minerals

Radium 226 and Radium 228

zero 5 pCi/L Increased risk of cancer Erosion of natural deposits


zero 10ug/L Increased risk of cancer, kidney toxicity Erosion of natural deposits


zero .010 Skin damage, problems with circulatory systems, may have increased risk of cancer Erosion of natural deposits


7 million fibers per liter 7 million fibers per liter Increased risk of developing benign intestinal polyps

Decay of asbestos cement in water


zero .002 Eye, liver, kidney, spleen problems, anemia, 
increased risk of cancer
Runoff from herbicide used on row crops


zero .005 Anemia, decrease in blood platelets, 
increased risk of cancer
Discharge from factories; leaching from gas storage tanks and landfills

Benzopyrene (PAHs)

zero .0002 Reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer Leaching from linings of water storage tanks and distribution lines

 Carbon tetachloride

zero .005 Liver problems; 
Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from chemical plants and other industrial activities


zero .002 Liver or nervous system problems; 
Increased risk of cancer
Residue of banned termiticide 
Chlorine 4 4 Eye/nose irritation; stomach discomfort Water additive used to control microbes

1, 2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP)

zero .0002 Reproductive difficulties; 
Increased risk of cancer
Runoff/leaching from soil fumigant used on soybeans, cotton, pineapples, and orchards

1, 2-Dichloroethane

zero .005
Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from industrial chemical factories
Dichloromethane zero .005 Liver problems; 
Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from drug and chemical factories


zero .006 Reproductive difficulties; liver problems; 
Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from rubber and chemical factories


zero .00000003 Reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer Emissions from waste incineration and other combustion; discharge from chemical factories
Fluoride 4 4 Bone disease; Children may get mottled teeth Water additive which promotes strong teeth; erosion of natural deposits; discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories


zero .0004 Liver damage; 
Increased risk of cancer
Residue of banned termiticide


zero .001 Liver or kidney problems; reproductive difficulties; 
Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from metal refineries and agricultural chemical factories

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

zero .0005 Skin changes; thymus gland problems; immune deficiencies; 
Increased risk of cancer
Runoff from landfills; discharge of waste chemicals

Vinyl Chloride

zero .002
Increased risk of cancer
Leaching from PVC pipes; discharge from plastic factories


Things like arsenic, asbestos, phthalates (endocrine disruptors), PCBs, benzenes, chloramines, run off from pesticides and herbicides, vinyl chloride, and discharge from drug and industrial chemical factories are just some of the contaminants that are NOT being filtered out of our water supply to meet the standard of the MCLG, or the level at which there is no known or expected risk to health.  I would hardly call this ‘potable’ water.  It is also clearly listed that ALL of these contaminants bring with them serious potential long-term health problems including increased risk of cancer.  

So what are we to do, left with water that has been insufficiently filtered?  I certainly wouldn’t ingest this water, none the less bathe in it, or even breathe in it's vapor while washing dishes.  Did you know chlorine vaporizes at a lower temperature than water? So even if you don’t use steaming hot water to shower in or to wash dishes in, chances are there are still chlorine vapors that are making their way into your lungs.   I don’t want to get too much into these scary scenarios so I’ll go ahead and tell you the best way to get pure, filtered, simple H2O.

You most likely already have a filtration system of some kind in your home already, on the countertop or in the fridge.  But does it really filter out some of these carcinogenic contaminants?  Popular brands usually say they will decrease the taste and odor of chlorine, but the fact of the matter is, the chlorine is still there.   The standard filter pitcher will remove copper, cadmium, mercury, and zinc. Period.  Popular faucet mounted filters will reduce or remove (not clear which one) lead, asbestos, benzene, TTHMs, parasites, atrazine, lindane, trichloroethylene, and particulates class 1.   This is better than the pitcher filter, yet still does not completely remove the contaminants listed above and doesn’t even mention chlorine, chloramines, fluoride (more toxic than lead), phthalates, vinyl chloride, VOCs, PCBs, heptachlor (possible risk of liver damage), alachlor (may increase risk of cancer), benzopyrene (may lead to reproductive difficulties), and arsenic.

To ensure you get the cleanest, more pure water right out of your faucet, and by the way, throughout your entire home, take a look at Pure Effects Entire Home Water Filtration System.  This is the system that was recommended to me by my Naturopathic Doctor because my thyroid is a little on the hypo side.  With my blood results in hand, one of his first questions to me was, "do you have a water filter at home?" Turns out, the chloramines, chlorine, and fluoride in the water attaches to the iodine receptors in the body better than iodine itself.  Looking at the thyroid, iodine is a nutrient that can provide balance but not if the chlorine and fluoride are getting to the receptors first.  They can actually block these receptors, leading to abnormal levels of thyroid hormones.  

After speaking with several specialists and plumbers in this field, I concluded that this was the best one which will remove the most contaminants.  They each actually thought they themselves had the best filtration system, in their own homes and those which they sell, but when they looked at this system they were impressed.  I believe the quote was, “I’ve been in this business a long time and this system is unlike anything I’ve seen.”

I’ve recently installed the under sink mounted filtration system for our kitchen sink and the shower head filter in our master bathroom.  This was the most cost effective way for us to limit the toxins we were being exposed to through drinking water, shower water and vapors.  Now, we can drink those 8 glasses of water worry-free, completely relishing in our 100% pure H2O.  We also don’t have to worry about chlorine vapor from those hot steamy showers we love so much.  And forget about the fluoride and other contaminants that we were absorbing through the skin!  Did you know you absorb about 60% of what is applied to the skin?  We can’t wait to take a hot steam shower and throw some organic eucalyptus essential oil on the walls to breathe in all that pure goodness!

gift for cancer patient

The entire home filtration system was just out of our price range, for now.  In the future we plan to add the entire home filtration system to ensure our water for washing dishes, cleaning clothes, and for our guests to bathe in will also be pure. 

Go ahead and treat yourself to a steamy eucalyptus shower with 100% pure water!  Click the link below to learn more about PureEffect and their amazing filtration systems...

Full disclosure:  By using the link above to make a purchase, we will be sent a small affiliate commission.  As a young company, we have to be creative in how we sustain our business and we also want to share with you all the good things we are doing at home so you can benefit and improve your own health too!

Advanced Water Filters
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#7: Walking

We are all familiar with the benefits of regular exercise.  However, in the days of power yoga and Crossfit, we may be over-doing it.   Studies show that a consistent regimen of light to moderate exercise is the best way to improve immune function.  Strenuous exercise like running and weight lifting have their merits too, for the cardiovascular system and weight loss.  But simply going for a stroll around the park can offer a quick boost to the immune system leaving you in a better position to fight off those nasty cancer cells.  

In a 2013 study, it was reported that postmenopausal women who walked for 7 hours or more each week were at a 14% lower risk of developing breast cancer.  This held true across the board, without differences among women with higher BMI, higher estrogen levels, weight gain, or whether or not they were on a regimen of post menopausal hormone replacement therapy. 

Postmenopausal or not, we can all benefit from taking a few more steps each day.  Walking can lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular function, boost the immune system, and lower stress.  

walking man

We all live in a time when our smart devices are on average no further than 3 feet away from us at all times thorughout the day.  Not great for our stress levels, but these devices can make it so very easy to track our steps.  The analog pedometer is a thing of the distant past.  As long as you carry a smart phone, chances are it is already calculating your steps each and every day for you.  Take a look into your applications, and maybe you even already have an app that encourages you to take more steps and compares your steps to friends, family, and others nearby.   

A cancer survivor in Los Angeles describes how she used a wearable fitness tracker during her treatment, "I was able to be more active as the medications took effect, and I got a better handle on the pain".  Not only did the walking seem to lessen her pain, but it became a way in which she was able to track her overall health.  "When the device showed that I could manage 1,000 steps a day, I challenged myself to walk a little further".  Now, she is back to doing longer hikes and averaging 10,000 steps per day.  

So what is the golden number you should shoot for each day?  In "How Not to Die" by Michael Greger, "walking for only 60 minutes a week only drops your mortality rate about 3 percent.  But walking 300 minutes a week drops your mortality rate by 14 percent.  And an hour long walk each day may reduce mortality by 24 percent!"  

Like eating healthy, the more you do it the more benefits you will reap.  Now go sign up for the fitness app and start tracking your steps today!  



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#6: Human Connection

Human connection.  I’m talking about real, authentic, intimate conversation and connection with other human beings.  In this digital age we are more isolated than ever.  But those of you out there who are still interacting with other humans, face-to-face, are benefitting from an emotional connection that will help you to live longer!

As human beings we all need this kind of connection with others, it’s what makes us human.  It’s when we are isolated and start to have feelings of loneliness that things go wrong.  And you don’t actually have to be physically isolated to feel this.  Plenty of people are surrounded by others on a daily basis yet they will tell you how truly lonely they feel.  
In an article by Psychology Today, “The health consequences of feeling lonely are dramatic. The researchers found that feeling isolated from others can: disrupt sleep, elevate blood pressure, increase morning rises in the stress hormone cortisol, alter gene expression in immune cells [think; cancer], increase depression, and lower overall subjective well-being.” 

Connecting with others and being kind just comes naturally to those living in the Blue Zones, which is why they tend to live to 100.  The Blue Zones include places such as the Barbara region of Sardinia, Ikaria, Greece, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, CA; and Okinawa, Japan.   There are nine factors that each of these places have in common.  Medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists have all studied these areas and have come up with what they are calling the “Power 9” factors.   One of those factors is TRIBE.  

“The social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors”.  By choosing a ‘tribe’ of like-minded, positive, and health conscious friends you are increasing the likelihood you will live to 100.  

The good news is, you’re already doing this!  Most likely you live with another human being that you enjoy spending time with.  And if you don’t, you probably have some good close friends just a phone call away.  And a phone call is a much better way to connect, instead of merely texting.  Next time you find yourself spending time with another soul, try cutting out the small talk and get right down to the good stuff.  Connect.  Share.  Open your heart.  It goes both ways, by you sharing your own thoughts and feelings you’re getting stuff off your chest leaving you lighter and ready to tackle whatever life throws at you.  And if your close friend needs to unload on you, go ahead and let them!  You are there so they can work out all the things they’ve been holding onto.  You don’t have to absorb what they’re putting out there, you just let it roll right off you, and be there to give a big hug once they’re done.  Guess what?  You’ll feel better too that you could support a friend in need. 

The same goes for acts of kindness.  Studies have shown that acts of kindness can decrease anxiety for those performing the act, for those receiving the act, AND for those witnessing that same act of kindness!  Amazing! 



“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” - Brene Brown, Professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

Looking for a new tribe that you can connect with?  Try a local meet-up group in your area (links below).  Also, follow us on social media.  There are so many wonderful people on Instagram sharing their stories and experiences fighting cancer, it is such an honor to be a part of it.  

When I started this company, I was a bit worried about having to revisit cancer each day but now that I am nearly 3 months into it, the effect has been so positive and inspiring.  It has taught me to love my body.  There are those who have shared their experiences of cancer treatment, surgeries, side effects, and more yet they are so grateful for what their bodies have done for them and will continue to do.   Complaining about a little cellulite seems so trivial now.  By following this group of survivors, I have come to truly understand and internalize the phrase, "It's not what's on the outside, but what's on the inside that counts".  

The goal of this blog series is not to focus on the negative - or what not to do.  I started this series because I wanted to explain what positive actions you are already taking that you can feel great about!  Let's reframe our thinking.  Don't focus on the negative, or what to take out of your diet/lifestyle, i.e. decrease stress, decrease depression, decrease anxiety.  Because then you're just left in that negative space.  Let's start focusing on the positive side.  Focus on what you can add to your diet/lifestyle that will increase connections with others, open your heart, boost your immune system and uplift your spirit!

Connect with us!

Are you located in San Diego? Here's some upcoming events we will be attending in 2017...

August 8th - ACS Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Kickoff Breakfast

September 23rd - MAX LOVE Farm to Fork Dinner • Come out to have a delicious dinner, some fun dancing and for your chance to win a Cornucopia gift basket!  A portion of each sale from benefits the MAX LOVE Project.  

October 14th - Susan G. Komen Row for the Cure • Stop by and check out our packages and products, we will have a vendor stand set up!  

Connect with others!

The Healing Power of Hugs
Cuddle Therapy
Connect to Thrive Article from Psychology Today

Missed #1-5? Start here...

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#5: Breathing

If you are reading this blog post, you are breathing.  If you are breathing, you are fighting cancer.  Whether you have already been diagnosed or not,  your body is fighting.  Our bodies produce cancer cells every single day and with a healthy immune system we can target those cells and get rid of them.  But when we can't, that's when cancer becomes a problem.  

Breathing actually supports our immune health.  How?  Let's break it down...

When we inhale, our lungs fill with fresh oxygen and the diaphragm contracts to move downward toward the belly.  As this happens, the diaphragm actually puts pressure on the large lymphatic vessels in the abdomen and chest, stimulating the otherwise stagnant lymph fluid to circulate through the body.  

Only breathing and body movement can move lymphatic fluid because it doesn't get pumped through our body like blood is pumped through the heart.  So why is lymphatic movement so important? 

The lymphatic system is part of our immune system.  The lymphatic system is in charge of taking the waste products from our bodies' metabolism and moving it through the lymph nodes, where large white blood cells remove toxins.  So lymph nodes act like little filters, which is why when we get a cold our throat can be sore and our bodies ache from fighting the flu.  When the lymph is restricted, detoxification cannot happen efficiently.  

Breathing is one of the best ways to move this fluid so it can get to the lymph node to be cleaned up and put back into circulation.  Just like when we breathe in fresh oxygen, and exhale carbon dioxide our bodies are filtering out the bad and bringing in the good.  

In fact, in meditation this is typically something we like to think about.  We can relax knowing that by simply taking a deep breath we are doing our bodies good.

 "Inhale deeply.  Exhale completely.  Inhale the good, fresh air.  Exhale the negative, toxic breath."    

 As a Pilates instructor, I work on breathing quite a bit with my clients.  While exercising, I recommend breathing in and out through the nose.  This will generate more heat in the body and warm up your core.   However, if you are stressed out and need to slow down and chill out, I would suggest inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. 

This has the opposite effect, cooling the body down and allowing you to drop into that relaxed, parasympathetic state.  If you’ve been reading these blog posts from the beginning, you can tell stress has a lot to do with your health.  You’re already doing some of these things.  You just might need to do more of them, or in this case, take a deeper, more full breath. 

We all get caught up in the hustle bustle of today’s world - social media, texting, doing everything and more.   It’s easy to find yourself never really taking a deep breath.  I found myself doing this and my naturopathic doctor told me the tightness in my neck and shoulders could be stemming from this ‘chest’ breathing.  Even my diaphragm was tight, because I was never allowing it to drop, as in when you take a deep belly breath and the diaphragm drops in order to allow your lungs to expand.  Crazy! 

Now I regularly take deep breaths throughout the day, whenever I feel myself getting stressed.  So go on, take a deep inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.  

Inhale deeply.  Exhale completely. 


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#4: Laughing


Go ahead, let out a big HA!  Right now. 

Go ahead, nobody will care.  

How do you feel?  Maybe a sense of relief?  Pushed out all that stale air from your lungs so you could take in more fresh air?  You might have even felt your entire body relax a bit.  Or maybe you even felt your heart rate increase, bringing fresh oxygenated blood to your limbs?

Laughing can do all this and more.  It stimulates your body in a way that is similar to exercise, activating the ‘stress’ response in your body, just like exercise does, which results in a relaxed feeling afterwards.   So no more excuses why you can’t exercise.  You can still laugh and get some of the same benefits!  During a good belly laugh, your organs are stimulated, happy hormones are released from your brain, and fresh oxygenated blood leaves you feeling relaxed, calm and happy.   In short, the entire body is happy and smiling. 


By releasing the stress we hold in our bodies, we are minimizing the burden on our organs and systems.  In particular, the immune system.  In an article found on,


“Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.”

So laughter is just another tool we can use to encourage the body to heal.  It leaves the body in a relaxed (parasympathetic) nervous state otherwise known as the "rest and digest" state.  When our bodies are relaxed, our gut is able to break down food, absorb nutrients and excrete toxins.  But, when we are in that "fight or flight" state, activating the sympathetic nervous system, our bodies are focused on the danger at hand, whether that's a predator or stressful situation and forget about the digestion happening in the gut.  We literally have bigger fish to fry.  

When we are unable to completely break down food, conditions like "leaky gut" can occur.  This is when that undigested food causes inflammation in the gut, allowing food particles to escape from the lining of the digestive tract.  What happens next?  The immune system has to kick in, sending white blood cells to the area, increasing inflammation even further.  The immune system takes care of the undigested food and clears it from the body, but it takes a lot of energy to do this.  This is a job meant for the acid and enzymes in the digestive tract.  

There's yet another connection between the gut and the immune system. About 70-80% of our immune system is located in the gut!  All those microbes and bacteria are hard at work getting rid of viruses and other harmful bacteria we ingest through our food.  So when the gut is not happy and smiling you can bet the immune system feels the same way.  And we all know the immune system is the gatekeeper against cancer. If the immune system can't do it's job efficiently, cancer can walk right in through the front door. 

Laughter is just one more way you can support your body so it can function properly.  In the world of holistic health and nutrition, we take everything into account and how it effects the body.  Nothing happens in isolation.   So let's support our bodies with nutrient dense foods, invigorate our minds with knowledge, and uplift our spirits with laughter that we can feel in our bellies. 

If you couldn't produce a laugh for yourself earlier, here’s a few one-liners to get you going…


What’s Forrest Gump’s password?



So two snare drums and a cymbal fall off a cliff…



What does a nosy pepper do?




Feel better?  Thought so.  Keep it up, and find even more ways to laugh every single day!   Share your own jokes below to spread the laughter!  Follow us on social media for more one-liners releasing this week!

Instagram: @cornucopiabox



Missed #1, 2, and 3? CLICK HERE to get caught up!


Effect of Laughter on Stress Response and Natural Killer Cell Activity

Cancer Treatment Centers of America: Laughter Therapy

Effects of Laughter Therapy on Cancer Patients

Celebrities Using Humor to Deal with Breast Cancer

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