Does 100% non-chemical soap exist? No – Lye is always used

I wish there was such a thing as a completely natural soap made only from coconut oil, olive oil, essential oils etc. But this is unfortunately impossible. There is absolutely no way to make a bar soap without using lye.

The basic reaction that is needed to make soap, called ‘saponification’, cannot occur without some form of lye reacting with some form of oil. Lye is actually a general term for a very strong alkali. There are two alkali’s that can be used to make soap: sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) and potassium hydroxide. Both are considered lye, but the potassium hydroxide is not strong enough to make a solid soap. It is only used for making liquid soaps.

Therefore sodium hydroxide cannot be substituted for potassium hydroxide and vice versa because soap making recipes will have different quantity requirements for these two chemicals depending on the kind of soap being manufactured. In addition, the quantities required for soap saponification differ when using caustic soda and hydrated potash.

Soap manufacturers do everything they can to hide the fact that they use lye in their soap. Dr. Bronners soap, which is considered “pure” natural, uses lye. It is hidden under the term “saponified oils”, which is actually the process of mixing lye with oil. Soap simply cannot be made without lye.

Lye is commercially manufactured using a membrane cell chlor-alkali process. It is one of the highest volume industrial chemicals with an annual production of 40 million tons. It is supplied in various forms such as flakes, pellets, microbeads, coarse powder or a solution. I use flakes to make soap – but would use any form available.

Interesting enough, Lye is also used for other things:

Food uses: Lye is used to cure types of food, such as: lutefisk; olives (making them less bitter); canned mandarin oranges; pretzels etc. It is also used as a tenderizer in the crust of baked Cantonese moon cakes, and in lye-water “zongzi” (glutenous rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves); in chewy, southern Chinese noodles popular in Hong Kong and southern China; plus, in Japanese ramen noodles.

Household uses: Lye is also valued for its cleaning effects. It is commonly the major constituent in commercial and industrial oven cleaners and clogged drain openers, due to its grease-dissolving abilities. Lye decomposes greases via alkaline ester hydrolysis, yielding water soluble, easily removed (e.g., rinsed away) residual substances.

It does have hazardous reactions and has a potentially destructive effect on living tissues (e.g., skin, flesh, and the cornea). Solutions containing it can cause chemical burns, permanent injuries, scarring, and blindness—immediately upon contact. Lye may be harmful or even fatal if swallowed; ingestion can cause esophageal stricture. Moreover, solvation of dry solid lye is highly exothermic; the resulting heat may cause additional burns, or, ignite flammables. Therefore it is extremely important to use personal protective equipment including safety glasses, chemical-resistant gloves, and adequate ventilation when using lye to make soap (or clean your drain).

The reaction between sodium hydroxide and a few metals is also hazardous. Aluminium reacts with lye to produce hydrogen gases. Since hydrogen is flammable, mixing a large quantity of lye (e.g., sodium hydroxide) and aluminum in a closed container is dangerous – especially when the system is at a high temperature, which speeds up the reaction. In addition to aluminum, lye may also react with magnesium; galvanized zinc; tin; chromium; brass; and, bronze—producing hydrogen gas. Therefore I always use plastic containers and glass when I make soap.

Råd: Hvordan faster man?

Jeg har netop afsluttet en 15 dages faste. Reelt set var fasten ikke 15 dage, men for at gennemføre en 3 dages vand faste er det vigtigt at forberede kroppen. Det tager tid. Denne artikel er en trin-for-trin-vejledning.

Lad være med at faste hvis du har diabetes, hypoglykæmi, er gravid eller ammer. For de fleste mennesker er faste kke en nem opgave, og du skal være parat til at tage fri for at gøre det.

Du kan reducere bivirkningerne af at faste ved at følge en rå-juice faste i stedet for rent vand. Det vil bremse fjernelsen af toksiner fra kroppen og også fjerne nogle detox symptomer. Detox symptomer omfatter: kvalme, hovedpine, svimmelhed, mangel på energi, mavesmerter, kramper, smerter i benene, forvirring osv. (du velkommen til at tilføje din egen oplevelse til det).

Fordelene:

3 dage hjælper kroppen slippe af med toksiner og renser blodet.
5 dage starter processen med at heale og genopbygge immunforsvaret.
10 dage giver kroppen tid til at gøre bod på skader forårsaget af langvarig udsættelse for farlige kemikalier og giftstoffer.

Det er ikke tilrådeligt at gå lige fra normale spise-og drikkevaner til faste. Det vil få kroppen til at gå ind i en chok tilstand. Jeg har engang prøvet det i Thailand. Jeg ønskede at faste og troede at fordi jeg normalt hovedsagelig spiser friske frugter og grøntsager, så jeg kunne gå lige fra at spise dette til faste på vand. Jeg gav op efter den første dag.

Nedenstående er en trin-for-trin guide til at faste:

Trin # 1: Forberedelse til faste (uge 1 & 2)
Stop med at spise kød, mejeriprodukter, fisk, drikke kaffe, alkohol, rygning. Ved udgangen af ??den anden uge skal din kost kun være frugt, grøntsager, kerner og nødder.

Trin # 2: Rå frugt, grøntsager, nødder og kerner (3 dage)
Tre dage, hvor alle måltider kun består af rå frugt, grøntsager, kerner og nødder.

Trin # 3: Blendet rå mad (3 dage)
Tre dage før vand fasten, blend alle dine fødevarer i en blender. Dette er en måde at forberede dit fordøjelsessystem på at bremse ned og være klar til den manglende mad. Dette er det trin jeg sprang over sidste gang jeg fastede og det gjorde en verden til forskel at gøre det. At drikke fødevarer er slet ikke det samme som tygge mad.

Trin # 4: Vand faste (3 dage)
Drik mindst 3 liter vand hver dag. Du vil måske finde dette svært på den anden og tredje dag fordi din mave er blevet mindre. Sørg for at du har fuldstændig hvile i disse dage. Lav ikke nogen planer. Jeg foreslår, at du tager fri eller alternativt starter dag 1 torsdag aften og slutter fasten søndag aften. Det er hvad jeg gjorde. Jeg fandt den første dag hårdest. Jeg tænkte konstant på mad. Selv de mest simple fødevarer syntes overvældende lækre (som f.eks. et tørt stykke brød med tomat). Jeg led også af søvnløshed og en vis forvirring. Den anden dag var nemmere bortset fra at jeg var svimmel, havde synsproblemer og kvalme et par gange. Den tredje dag var en leg, bortset fra en mærkelig smerte i mine ben og en smule kvalme. Den første frugt shake var ærligt talt ikke så god som forventet (søndag aften). Du kan lette fasten ved at drikke destilleret vand med økologisk citronsaft eller økologisk kamille te. Jeg havde ikke adgang til økologiske produkter, og derfor fastede jeg udelukkende på vand.

Trin # 5: Blendet rå mad (3 dage)
Vend tilbage til blendet rå frugt, grøntsager, kerner og nødder i 3 dage efter din faste. De ønskede virkninger kan blive ødelagt ved at spise kogte fødevarer umiddelbart efter.

Trin # 6: Rå frugt, grøntsager, nødder og kerner (3 dage)
Tre dage hvor alle måltider kun består af rå frugt, grøntsager, kerner og nødder.

Trin # 7: Genindfør anden mad
Langsomt genindfør andre slags fødevarer i din kost. Hvis du tror, at du måske har fødevarer over-følsomhed eller allergi, så er dette at godt tidspunkt at teste disse fødevarer. Én ad gangen kan du langsomt genindføre hvede, mejeriprodukter, æg, soja og sukker til din krop. Vælg én ny hver dag, og i løbet af dagen spis 2 til 3 portioner. Bemærk eventuelle reaktioner. Vent for en dag, og på den tredje dag, kan du prøve en anden slags. Gentag, indtil du har prøvet alle de mulige typer af allergi fødevarer.

Den bedste del ved fasten for mig var at jeg gennemførte den, og at jeg har udviklet en ny kærlighed til madlavning / tilberedelse af mad.

Held og lykke med din faste og skriv endelig dine oplevelser til os, så vi kan dele dem med andre læsere.

NB: Denne artikel findes på engelsk også, men jeg har valgt at oversætte den så min mor og andre danske læsere kan finde en nem vejledning.

WHO: HIV-infected should start treatment earlier

It is estimated that 5.2 million people worldwide are now receiving treatment for AIDS (ARVs) that could save their lives.

But more lives can be saved and the infection rate reduced if treatment start earlier according to the World Health Organisation WHO.

Compared to the total number of HIV-infected. assumed to be at least 33 million, the 5.2 million is far from enough. But it is 12 times as many as in 2003, when WHO launched a special effort against HIV. In 2008 there were 4 million infected in ARV treatment.

WHO now recommends that treatment is started even before the immune system is weakened and HIV develops into AIDS.

” An earlier treatment allows people to live healthier and longer with HIV,” said Dr. Gottfried Hirnschall, Head of WHO’s program on HIV / AIDS.

According to WHO, it would be possible to reduce AIDS mortality by 20 percent between 2010 and 2015 if these guidelines for early intervention is implemented.

Early treatment will also make it possible to prevent many infections, including tuberculosis (TB), which is the leading cause of deaths among people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA).

According to WHO deaths from TB can be reduced by as much as 90 percent if people with both HIV and TB gets treatment earlier.

‘In addition to saving lives, the earlier treatment also helps in terms of prevention. The treatment reduces the level of virus in the organism, and this means that HIV-positive people are less likely to infect their partners with the virus.

WHO guidelines will expand the number of people who should be on ARVs from 10 to 15 million.

The AIDS epidemic was discovered in 1980/81. In the first 14 to 15 years there was no effective treatment and an AIDS diagnosis was basically equal to a death sentence.

The big breakthrough in the fight against HIV and AIDS came with the introduction of combination therapies (ARVs) in the mid-1990s. Several different drugs used simultaneously were found to have a good effect.

The change was so great that AIDS in large parts of the western world was transformed from a deadly disease to a life-long infection.

But the HIV treatment is expensive and it requires both money and a relatively well-organized health system to establish and maintain lifelong treatments against HIV and AIDS.

It is still my hope that one day ARVs will be available to everyone who needs it.

Pollution drives expats out of Beijing, China

As I work with research and business development for a Danish healthcare company, I travel quite a bit in the Asian countries – hereunder China. The article below from Financial Times describes to you how bad the pollution is in Beijing – and my advice to you – don’t go there if you can avoid it (not for living and not for holiday).

‘Airpocalypse’ drives expats out of Beijing

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing

Air pollution is driving expatriates out of Beijing and making it harder for companies to recruit international talent, according to anecdotal accounts from diplomats, senior executives and businesses.

No official figures are available on how many people are planning to leave after three months of the worst air pollution on record in the Chinese capital. But companies that mainly serve foreign residents are bracing for an exodus around the middle of the year when the school term ends.

“We’re anticipating this summer will be a very big season [of moves out of Beijing] for us,” said Chad Forrest, North China general manager for Santa Fe Relocations, a global service. “It seems a lot of people, particularly families with small children who have been here a few years, are reconsidering the cost-benefit equation and deciding to leave for health reasons.”

Doctors at private hospitals that mostly treat expat patients tell a similar story.

“We don’t have good statistics yet but we are seeing many more patients telling us they are leaving because of air pollution,” said Dr Andy Wong, head of family medicine at Beijing United Family hospital, the biggest private healthcare provider for foreign residents in China. “Recruitment is getting harder for all companies – how do you convince people to come work in the most polluted city in the world?”

Pollution has long been a concern for residents in Beijing but air quality readings published by the city government and the US embassy indicated levels of toxic smog on some days in January that were nearly 40 times higher than considered healthy by the World Health Organisation.

Although pollution levels have not yet returned to those seen during January’s “airpocalypse”, daily readings often hit levels considered hazardous. Residents are advised to avoid going outdoors at all and to limit their activity even while inside.

The air pollution index in Beijing published by the US embassy gave a reading on Sunday afternoon between “very unhealthy” and “hazardous”.

Most environmental experts and Beijing residents assume that the problem will only worsen as the government continues to encourage enormous expansion in industry, coal-fired power generation and car sales across the country.

“Air pollution is becoming a bigger concern for our members and their families,” Adam Dunnett, secretary-general of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said. “While members leave for all sorts of reasons, we inevitably hear nearly every time that one of the contributing reasons is the air pollution.”

Lars Rasmussen, a Nokia marketing executive, and his wife Michelle Frazier, a kindergarten teacher, have decided to return with their two children to their native Denmark after three years in Beijing. The couple say one of the most important deciding factors was the air pollution.

“Our kids can’t play outside or they have to wear face masks when they go out. It’s like something out of a science fiction novel,” Ms Frazier said.

Of the roughly 600,000 registered foreign residents in all of China, about 200,000 live in Beijing, which has a total population of approximately 20m.

But the expat community is overwhelmingly concentrated in high-earning professional jobs and contributes enormously to the city’s economy and the development of advanced industries.

Christian Murck, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, told reporters on Friday that the unprecedented levels of pollution in January had been a “tipping point” for some families. He knew of “many people” who are planning to leave as a result.

Executives at major companies and diplomats say recruiting new people to move to Beijing is one of the biggest concerns for businesses with China operations and many prospective candidates are declining positions because of air pollution, especially if they have young children.

Michael Namatinia, the regional president of an Israeli software company, said filling a senior management role in Beijing has been extremely difficult.

“We tried to recruit someone to run our North Asia operations from Beijing but after finding a suitable candidate and negotiating for a month the person’s wife vetoed the move because of air pollution,” Mr Namatinia said.

http://www.ft.com/intl/

Hazardous air pollution in Beijing, China

China is the worst polluted and most polluting country in the world. Today the pollution index reached an all-time high of 886 on the PM 2.5 scale. WHO (World Health Organization) warms that more than 30 days a year with 40 on the PM 2.5 scale is dangerous to health. Imagine what 886 does to your health!?!

However, no emergency warning was sent out and people continued their outdoor activity as if everything was okay. It’s going to cost live – millions of them in the future. It seems to be the way history repeats itself in China. No government does anything before millions of people die. So far “only” 8000 people died last year from pollution. Needless to say – lung cancer is the biggest killer in China, but the government likes to blame it on lifestyle choices such as smoking. “Nice” tactic if you can pin sickness on people themselves rather than failed energy, commercial and pollution policies!

The pollution in Beijing (and China) is always very high and the last week it has been above 320 (pm2.5) every day. For those of you who have never been to such polluted places, let me explain how it makes you feel (the immediate effects): You start coughing uncontrollably, your lungs hurt for every breath you breath in, your throat gets sore (you develop a throat infection), you get a headache (due to lack of oxygen), you feel dizzy, you can’t concentrate and feel overall ill. That’s the immediate effects of a day like today. The long-term effects are much worse: lung cancer, throat cancer, bronchitis, birth defects to unborn children just to mention a few.

Some background to air pollution:

Definition and principle sources

PM affects more people than any other pollutant. The major components of PM are sulfate, nitrates, ammonia, sodium chloride, carbon, mineral dust and water. It consists of a complex mixture of solid and liquid particles of organic and inorganic substances suspended in the air. The particles are identified according to their aerodynamic diameter, as either PM10 (particles with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 10 µm) or PM2.5 (aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 µm). The latter are more dangerous since, when inhaled, they may reach the peripheral regions of the bronchioles, and interfere with gas exchange inside the lungs.

Health effects

The health effects caused by air pollution PM may include difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing and aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiac conditions. These effects can result in increased medication use, increased doctor or emergency room visits, more hospital admissions and premature death. The human health effects of poor air quality are far reaching, but principally affect the body’s respiratory system and the cardiovascular system. Individual reactions to air pollutants depend on the type of pollutant a person is exposed to, the degree of exposure. Chronic exposure to particles contributes to the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as of lung cancer.
As before mentioned, WHO defines the max level of PM 2.5 to be 40 for a maximum period of 30 days a year. On an average day the pollution level PM 2.5 in Beijing is around 230 (today it was 886)

Understanding the AQI (air quality index)

The purpose of the AQI is to help you understand what local air quality means to your health. To make it easier to understand, the AQI is divided into six categories:

Air Quality Index

0-50: Good
51-100: Moderate
101-150: Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
151 to 200: Unhealthy
201 to 300: Very Unhealthy
301 to 500: Hazardous

Each category corresponds to a different level of health concern. The six levels of health concern and what they mean are:

• “Good” AQI is 0 – 50. Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.

• “Moderate” AQI is 51 – 100. Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people. For example, people who are unusually sensitive to ozone may experience respiratory symptoms.

• “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” AQI is 101 – 150. Although general public is not likely to be affected at this AQI range, people with lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk from exposure to ozone, whereas persons with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air.

• “Unhealthy” AQI is 151 – 200. Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects.

• “Very Unhealthy” AQI is 201 – 300. This would trigger a health alert signifying that everyone may experience more serious health effects.

• “Hazardous” AQI greater than 300. This would trigger a health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.

More resources:
www.twitter.com/beijingair
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_pollution
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/index.html
http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2006/WHO_SDE_PHE_OEH_06.02_eng.pdf

Am I worried about the health of the Chinese people – yes, I am. And I am worried about the health of the world’s population…air pollution knows NO borders. You should be worried too!!!

Advice: How to fast?

I have just finished a 15 days fast. Well in actually fact the fast itself did not last 15 days, but in order to do a 3 days water fast it is essential to prepare the body. This takes time. This article is a step-by-step guide.

Do not fast if you have diabetes, hypoglycemia, is pregnant or breastfeeding. For most people fasting is not an easy task and you need to be prepared to take time out to do it.

You can reduce the side-effects of fasting by following a live-juice fast instead of pure water. It will slow down the removal of toxins from the body and also remove some detox symptoms. Detox symptoms include: neusea, headache, dizziness, lack of energy, stomach pain, cramps, pain in the legs, confusion etc (please feel free to add your experience to it).

The benefits:

3 days helps the body get rid of toxins and cleanses the blood.
5 days begins the process of healing and rebuilding the immune system.
10 days gives the body time to reverse the damage caused by long-term exposure to dangerous chemicals and toxins.

It is not advisable to go straight from normal eating and drinking habits to fasting. It will cause the body to go into a shock condition. I once tried it in Thailand. I wanted to fast and thought that because I live mainly of fresh fruit and vegetables, I could go straight from eating this to fasting on water. I gave up after the first day.
You will need to get off the various stimulants and food addictions in order not to shock the system.

The below article is a step-by-step guide to fasting:

Step #1: Preparing to fast (Week 1 & 2)
Slowly stop eating meat, dairy, fish, drinking coffee, alcohol, smoking. By the end of the second week your diet should be only fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts.

Step #2: Raw fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds (3 days)
Three days where all meals consist of only raw fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts.

Step #3: Blended raw food (3 days)
Three days before the fast, blend all your food in a processor. This is a way to prepare your digestive system to slow down and be ready for the lack of food. This is the step I skipped last time I fasted and it made a world of difference to do it. Drinking food is not at all the same as chewing food.

Step #4: The fast (3 days)
Drink at least 3 liters of water every day. You may find this a challenge on the second and third day because your stomach shrinks. Make sure you have complete rest these days. Do not make any plans. I suggest you take the days off or alternatively start day 1 on Thursday evening and end the fast on Sunday evening. This is what I did. I found the first day the hardest. I constantly thought about food. Even the most simple food seemed overwhelming delicious to me (like a dry piece of bread with a tomato). I also suffered from insomnia and some confusion. The second day was easier except that I was dizzy, had visual problems and felt nausea a few times. The third day was a breeze except for a strange pain in my legs and a bit of nausea. The first fruit shake was honestly not as good as expected. You can ease the fast by drinking destilled water with organic lemon juice or organic camomille tea. I didn’t have access to organic products and therefore I stuck with water.

Step #5: Blended Raw Food (3 days)
Return to blending raw fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts for 3 days after your fast. The desired effects of a fast can be ruined by eating cooked foods immediately after.

Step #6: Raw fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds (3 days)
Three days where all meals consist of only raw fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts.

Step #7: Reintroduce Food
Slowly reintroduce all kinds of food back into your diet. If you think you might have food sensitivities or allergies, this is an ideal time to test these foods out. One at a time, slowly reintroduce wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, and sugar to your body. Choose one for one day, and during that day consume 2 to 3 servings. Note any reactions. Wait for a day and then on the third day, try another food. Repeat until you’ve tried all the possibly allergic food types.

The best part about the fast for me was the fact that I kept it and that I have developed a new found love for cooking/preparing food.

Best of luck with your fast and please write your experiences to us so that we can share with other readers.

Retirement and pension are illusions

Retirement planning is like making a life insurance. It should be viewed as nothing more than a small plaster on the wound if worst case scenario should happen and you become physically incapable of working and need a reservoir of capital to survive.

Timothy Ferriss makes a strong case for this in his book “The 4-Hour Workweek” and I must say that his arguments are hard to beat. Here goes:

Retirement as a goal or final redemption is flawed for at least three solid reasons:

1. It is predicated on the assumption that you dislike what you are doing during the most physically capable years of your life. This is a nonstarter – nothing can justify that sacrifice.

2. Most people will never be able to retire and maintain even a hot dogs-for-dinner standard of living. Even one million is chump change in a world where traditional retirement could span 30 years and inflation lowers your purchasing power 2-4 % per year. The math doesn’t work. The golden years become lower-midlle-class life revisited. That’s a bittersweet ending.

3. If the math does work, it means that you are one ambitious, hardworking machine. If that’s the case, guess what? One week into retirement, you’ll be so damn bored that you’ll want to stick bicycle spokes in your eyes. You’ll probably opt to look for a new job or start another company. Kinda defeats the purpose of waiting, doesn’t it?

“Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you!

This is the reason why I have chosen to spend all of my 20s and half of my 30s travelling. This has always been my dream – to see the whole world. So by now I have lived most of my dreams and have travelled more than 50 countries in the world. I don’t dare to postpone.
And I don’t take life or “tomorrow” for granted. I don’t take for granted that I will be old or even live until I am 50. And should I be so blessed to have 70 years to experience the world, I can’t take for granted that I can even walk by the time I “retire” and so how can I travel the world if I am not physically well? There are no garantees in life and certainly not on time. I am not a pessimist – I am realist.

I will never say that I will travel when I get retired – because by then I have seen it all. For sure!