HELPFUL HINTS TO IMPROVE
YOUR HEALTH, HOME, AND PLANET
An Interview with Beth Greer
By Randy Peyser
Mercury in your mascara? Formaldehyde in your baby shampoo? Oy vey! What’s the world coming
to? Better yet, what can we do to make ourselves and our world healthier?
Beth Greer, author of the bestseller, Super Natural Home: Improve Your Health, Home,
and Planet — One Room at a Time, offers hundreds of easy tips to end the
chemical madness — and other “blue meanies” — that have overtaken our lives and
Beth, aka “Super Natural Mom,” is an
award-winning journalist and
health educator, who eliminated a tumor in her
chest the size of a tennis ball without drugs or surgery by making small, but radical changes to her lifestyle and environment.
Beth is the former President of The Learning Annex. She’s appeared on ABC-TV, NBC-TV, CNN and NPR, where she has shared proven methods to
radically transform health and vitality. www.BethGreer.com
Randy Peyser: Was having that tumor the impetus for you to go green?
Beth Greer: Yes. I thought I was healthy. I was also exercising and eating right. I had a successful business, a great marriage, and meditation practice. It came as a complete shock. It was benign, but painful. Three surgeons insisted on
immediate surgery. But I had made plans to go to the Optimum Health Institute
for a detox beforehand. So, I decided to go there, instead.
I began my cleanse with raw vegetable juices and wheatgrass. Within 3 days, the pain started going away. So I decided to stay
on the path of cleansing
and simplifying. I ate raw, pure whole
foods that had no labels. I also bought a juicer and a dehydrator.
Next, I looked at what I was putting on my skin. My deodorant,
shampoo, moisturizer and makeup all contained unpronounceable chemicals. I
started making changes. For example, instead of using deodorant, I took a glass
salt shaker — the kind
found in restaurants — and filled it with
baking soda. After my shower,
I sprinkled baking soda in my hand and applied
it. Right after a shower, your armpits are slightly moist, so it sticks. It
To be even more thorough, I decided to look at what went in
me, what went on me, and what surrounded me. Just think of all the household cleaning products you use. Do you know that Windex says: “Hazardous to humans and domestic animals”? Why use toxic stuff? I switched to hydrogen peroxide,
vinegar and baking soda — things my
In six months, my pain was completely gone. Six months after that, a scan showed that the tumor had disappeared. This experience convinced me that the tumor came from
environmental exposure, since I had no genetic predisposition for it. Our
bodies are magnificent
self-healing organisms if we treat them right
and are as natural as possible! When I cleaned up my home environment, I healed
Randy: I was surprised to see how many popular companies you mention who have at least one ingredient in their
products deemed harmful by the EPA.
Beth: They’re changing,
but very slowly. For example, Johnson & Johnson just recently eliminated formaldehyde from their “No More Tears” baby shampoo.
Randy: Are cosmetics safe?
Beth: It shocked me to
learn that mercury appears in cosmetics. They call it, “thimerisol”. It’s now banned in most cosmetics, but not in mascara. The FDA says it’s safe because
it’s only 1% of the product formulation, but Mercury is a toxic heavy metal.
I suggest using natural products made by someone like Jody R. Weiss. Jody started a company called, “PeaceKeeper Causemetics.” She designed her
business using Paul Newman’s model, and the proceeds go to urgent human rights issues. She has a big heart and her makeup is clean and wonderful.
Randy: What about our sunscreen?
Beth: We need sunlight
on our skin to get vitamin D. Most people are deficient. In strong sun, use a
non-toxic sunscreen, especially
for children. The chemicals in most
sunscreens are frightening. Some people spray their children, but that goes into everyone’s lungs. You can go to the Environmental Working Group website and check their Skin Deep database at www.ewg.org/skindeep. Type in the name of a sunscreen and they will tell you how it ranks in terms of its toxicity level.
Randy: I have heard breast cancer patients shouldn’t use plastic water bottles because
they give off estrogen. Are they harmful for everyone else?
Beth: It takes seven liters of water to produce one liter of plastic water bottles. We’re dumping 40 million plastic bottles a day. Most are not recycled. They are exacerbating global warming.
Plastic water bottles also contain BPA. A new study shows that BPA is responsible for $3 billion per year in healthcare
costs associated with childhood obesity
and adult heart disease. 93% of Americans have BPA in their bloodstreams. BPA is also found in cash
register receipts. Pregnant women are touching these receipts. It is
Companies are now offering water bottles that say “BPA Free,” but they are substituting BPA with BPS, which hasn’t been studied for safety! We don’t know what we’re being exposed to. The Center for Environmental Health calls
this, “the Toxic Shell Game,” where the manufacturers swap out one
toxic chemical for another. Meanwhile, the consumer thinks the product is fine.
Notice the recycling number on the bottom of a single-use water bottle. Avoid triangles containing a 3, 6, or 7. Get a water filter, preferably a
reverse osmosis one that goes under the sink and has a carbon filter. Then fill
up a glass or metal water bottle.
Randy: What about the diet sodas?
Beth: Artificial sweeteners are
high on my list. A recent Purdue University study found that diet soda leads to
weight gain, increased risk of stroke, headaches, depression, and diabetes.
It causes bone mass loss, messes with the metabolism, and is addictive.
I have a client who got dizzy spells when she consumed
anything that contained aspartame.
The use of aspartame as a sweetening agent is
pervasive. It’s in kid’s cereals, diet soda, Crystal Light, and many other products.
Randy: What about cookware?
Beth: Teflon pans
produced by DuPont contain a chemical called, PFOA. Researchers have found that
when you preheat a Teflon pan on medium-to-high heat without food in it, it releases chemicals
into the air. These vapors kill people’s pet canaries. So, what’s
it doing to us?
DuPont has agreed to remove PFOA from their Teflon coatings
by 2015. But it’s 2014 and
they haven’t done it yet. Get rid of Teflon.
Use stainless steel or “green” pans that are made from ceramic.
Randy: What do you recommend for cooking oils?
Beth: Eat healthy oils like olive
or coconut oil. Coconut oil
doesn’t smoke or burn when cooking at high
temperatures. I also like rice bran oil. Avoid vegetable oils, particularly
hydrogenated vegetable oil, in processed food, like crackers, cookies and
bread; it’s a trans fat, which is a known cause of carcinogens and heart
disease. It’s a killer, and it’s not easy to avoid.
Randy: My doctor told me, “No soy anything.” I discovered that soybean oil is everywhere. Most restaurants use it
on their grills because it’s cheap. It’s also in salad dressings and
Beth: 93% of soybeans
are genetically modified if they are not organic. I avoid commercially-made salad dressings. I make mine from organic olive oil and lemon juice or fig vinegar, with some seasoning. Feed your body something
wholesome, not toxic.
Randy: What about potatoes?
Beth: They’re highly
sprayed and contain pesticide residue. If you’re eating out and ordering French
fries, you’re getting a dose of pesticides.
Randy: Any more insights about what we eat?
Beth: Buy organic dairy — including
milk, cheese, yogurt and
butter — because cows are given growth hormones and antibiotics. Like fish and chicken, they’re being fed soy and
corn, which is genetically modified. If changing your diet altogether feels
undoable, pick the foods you eat the most of, and start going organic with those things. Be sure to eliminate processed foods. That is
where the chemicals, hydrogenated oils, additives, artificial sweeteners, and
artificial colorings (banned in Europe) are.
Also watch out for a preservative called, Calcium Propionate,
which is a food additive to retard spoilage. I have a loaf of bread I show
people when I give talks. It’s a year old and it’s as soft as the day I bought
it and has no mold on it. Laboratory animals given Calcium Propionate exhibited
ADHD behavior. Attention Deficit Disorder could be exacerbated by eating bread
Randy: I was surprised to discover the
many problems lurking in our homes due to air quality.
Beth: The Environmental Protection Agency says that the air in our homes is 100 times more polluted than the outside air (even if you live in
Los Angeles). Volatile organic compounds
are off-gassing from
vinyl shower curtains, household cleaners,
flame retardants in carpets and couches, and even from what you track in from
outdoors on your shoes. I recommend removing your shoes at your door.
Particulates in the dust in the air inside our homes come
from the off-gassing from our furniture, from the formaldehyde in the glues,
and from the smell of new carpets. These smells are actually chemicals that get
into your lungs and bloodstream.
Artificial fragrances are another big air pollutant. Air fresheners can trigger asthma and headaches. If you see the word, “fragrance” on a label, it is a
manufacturer’s catch word. They don’t have to tell you what’s in that product. There can be a hundred different synthetic chemicals in that
I worked with a client who had a chronic cough for two years.
The doctors could not figure out the cause. I walked through her house and
found some giant scented candles. Within three days of their removal, her cough
Randy: What about essential oils?
Beth: Essential oils are plant-based
and healthy. Look for a product that says it contains 100% essential oil. The
words, “made with essential oils,” is a manufacturer’s catch phrase. This could
mean only one drop, or 1%, of essential oil was used.
In fact, be careful of the words, “made with” in regards to all products. For example,
if you are looking for a mattress, look for one that says 80% or 100% latex. If
it says “made with natural late,” again this means it could be just a handful.
Randy: What’s the problem with mattresses?
Beth: Most mattresses
contain flame retardants and polyurethane foam, which will break
down and cause indoor air pollution. You’re breathing it all night long. Choose an organic mattress using natural latex foam. It comes from a rubber tree and is non-toxic.
Randy: I’ll tell you what’s really had me stumped — trying to find a natural alternative for removing mold from around the tub.
Beth: Put hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and spray on the mold. Or use a natural cleaner. Look for a label that says, “PVC and Pthalic free.”
Products that list a third-party certification — like a Green Seal Certification — are safe.
Randy: Can you share what you have learned about cell phones?
Beth: Yes. Most people
don’t know that the more bars your cell phone shows, the less radiation the
phone emits. Fewer bars mean your phone is working harder, and it’s giving off
more radiation. Don’t put the cell phone up to your ear. Keep it at least 2
inches away from your head.
Randy: Final thoughts?
Beth: What goes in us, on us, and
surrounds us has such a
huge impact on our health and
well-being. It’s very easy to make small
changes. These simple
changes in your lifestyle
can have a profound effect that will benefit
not only us, but our environment and the health of future generations.
You can find out more about her live events, Huffington Post
columns, webcasts, and personalized in-home detox audits and trainings at
Peyser is the author of Crappy to Happy, www.CrappytoHappy.com, and The Power of
Miracle Thinking, www.MiracleThinking.com She also edits books and helps people
find literary agents and publishers, www.AuthorOneStop.com