My guest today is Andrea Fabry, toxic free blogger and owner of Just So Natural Products. Following a health crisis in 2008, Andrea and her family discovered the wonders of natural living. We’ll be talking today about the health effects of artificial light, the healing benefits of natural light, and how to bring more natural light into your home and life. Andrea is a former journalist and the mother of nine children ranging in age from 29 to 13. She is also the founder and president of momsAWARE, an educational organization designed to empower others to live healthy in a toxic world. www.it-takes-time.com | www.justso.com
TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
Making the Switch from Toxic Light Bulbs to Natural Light
Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Andrea Fabry
Date of Broadcast: February 17, 2015
DEBRA: Hi I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and this is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world and live toxic free.
Well, it’s cloudy outside today here. I’m in Florida and I know some of you on the east coast that are listening are going to have lots of snow today and so we’ll see. I love having a big storm but I know some of you—we have hurricanes here in Florida. And when that happens everything is down, so my sympathy is to those who of you who are going to be in a big storm and any damage that happens today, but here we’re just going to get a lot of wind and rain and it’s nice to see mother nature up there doing her thing.
Anyway, today we’re going to talk about light. Oh, it’s Tuesday, February 17th 2015 and we’re going to talk about light, the difference between artificial and natural light and how that affects your health and what you can do to get more natural light in your life and the health benefits of that.
My guest today is Andrea Fabry. She is a toxic food blogger and owner of Just So Natural Products. She’s been on the show before and you might want to listen to the previous show too in the archives at ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com. She has nine children and they all live without toxic chemicals. I’m going to let her tell a little bit of her story and how she got interested in natural light and the toxicity of light bulbs. She and I are very parallel in our experiences and we had something happened to our health and then started looking around for the toxic chemicals. So she has done a lot of research as well.
ANDREA FABRY: Hey Debra, how are you?
DEBRA: I’m very good. How are you?
ANDREA FABRY: I’m great. Thank you.
DEBRA: All right, good! So tell us a little bit, I know that on the other show that you told us your whole story about how you got interested in toxics, but tell us a little synopsis again.
ANDREA FABRY: I can do that, yeah.
DEBRA: Give us a little synopsis, but then take the story in the direction of how you got interested in natural light. Why are we talking about this today?
ANDREA FABRY: Great!
DEBRA: And what led you down that path?
ANDREA FABRY: Well, it started in a very dark place in our life ironically and that is we had a toxic exposure in our home. When we moved in to it in the year 2000 and didn’t figure it out until 2008. And at which time we’ve left we had some serious structural errors that led to this hidden amount of toxic mold at high, high level. We improperly remediated it and blew it all through the air vents and so on and so forth. But we did have nine kids living with this throughout that time and all of them were impacted including myself and my husband so we had a brand new start in 2008 an unfortunate one and ended up moving from Colorado to Arizona.
At that time I just had this desire to have my kids outside and we were seriously ill. I figured out within several months that just leaving our home would not go to result in full recovery. If that was even possible, I didn’t know. We were very drawn to the desert and the sunshine without really knowing why. And as I look back for us that was a very good move certainly not necessary in order to get healthy but that’s our story.
And in the last years so particularly I’ve been very intrigued about lighting and over all electromagnetic steels and the type of what electrification has done not only in our society but to our family. And then how do you live in a world like ours without just completely abandoning it.
We live with technology and it’s been great! Look what electricity brought us, but unless we’re aware of some of the health implications I don’t think we can be on the offense as much as we really need to be.
DEBRA: I totally agree with you.
I don’t remember the second when I started studying natural light but it was many, many years ago. Well we’ve been living with fluorescent lights from all the time and back in the days when I was first became aware of this we had old tubes that flickered and I just noticed that when I was in a room that had those kinds of lights especially public places that I didn’t feel as well as if I was outside in the natural light and then I noticed that different kinds of light bulbs made me feel better or worse and just putting them in the lamp at home.
And that the color of light even makes a big difference, like I really don’t like being around bluish lights and then I always kept the warm light bulb and I just started learning about it. And we’re going to talk more about this later in the show ‘cause we’ve both been reading the same books I found out and this is a very fascinating subject.
ANDREA FABRY: It is! Oh, go ahead.
DEBRA: Well, I was just going to say, let’s start with natural light because I know one of the things that you said to me this, that you wanted to about why you don’t wear sunglasses anymore and let’s just start with the sun, not the indoor lights. Let’s just start with the sun.
ANDREA FABRY: Yeah, good.
DEBRA: I did a whole read research project about sun protection and because people are always asking me what’s the best sun tan lotion. But it’s not just about sun tan lotion; it’s about being exposed to natural light. So you tell us Andrea, why is it important that we’re exposed to natural light?
ANDREA FABRY: Well it’s just natural which of course your whole program is about, and we have lived with the sun since the beginning and for many generations. Upon generations, we’ve lived well under the sun and with the sun. And I think we have an unnatural fear of it.
Now, I do have a respect for the sun and it’s not to be taken likely, no pun intended that it has hazardous qualities. Too much of a good thing can be too much of a good thing but the bottom line is natural light has a full spectrum of light and when we turned artificial we immediately cut some of that and what we’re most afraid of is the ultraviolet light.
But I think what we understand even intuitively, sometimes you go outside and maybe you’re not feeling well and you just sit in the shade and I feel better. Well there’s a reason for that, that’s it is nourishing even small amounts of ultraviolet light.
We had a baby who was jaundiced, one of ours and this was back in 1994 and of course, I knew nothing about any of this. But you know what is the number one recommendation or treatment for jaundice? It’s light. Put your baby near the window. And it’s the blue light particularly that kind of dissipates the chemical that gets stopped up by the liver and excreted so it’s a very healing thing.
And we know this, and this has been known for many years so when you stop and think and pull back, I think it’s not surprising that sunlight is a good thing. We just don’t know how much or how to do that at also because we just moved from outdoors to indoors and so we’ve needed to create light and build buildings without good windows and ventilation and all these.
We’re spending a lot of time indoors and then we get into a car that has glass and then we wear sunglasses. We have almost cut ourselves off from something that is inherently good and to erase the balance. We can talk all about that but I just think respect versus fear is a very different thing.
DEBRA: I totally agree with you. And if you’ll really think about—first I just want to say that the other day it’s been cold here. Well it’s winter of course, but still, it’s generally very mild here in Florida. And so it’s a big deal on a day like today when we get this big wind down from the north and it gets cold and we get a storm like this but which hasn’t happened yet but I see the wind rustling out my window. And it’s been kind the cold and then other day, just yesterday, I was walking down the street and I happened to be in a place where the sun would shine and like right on the spot I just stood there in the sun and felt the warmth and it felt so good.
ANDREA FABRY: Doesn’t it?
DEBRA: It does. You just go, Mmm sun and the light.
But I have something else to say about the light and sun which I’ll say right after the break.
You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Andrea Fabry and we’re talking about toxic and toxic free to light.
We’ll be right back.
= COMMERCIAL BREAK =
DEBRA: I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Andrea Fabry, a toxic blogger and owner of Just So Natural Toxic Products. Actually like me, she alerts people to toxic dangers and in fact the way I found out about her was because one of my readers put a comment on something I wrote that was a link to Andrea’s site where she has done some research, which I didn’t know that about toxic chemicals in immersion blenders.
ANDREA FABRY: That’s a fun topic, isn’t it?
DEBRA: It is. But it’s not light so we’ll keep that for another day.
Anyway, what I wanted to say about the sun is that if you look at life, any aspect of light and the basic of life like a seed. A seed will not awaken until it has the sun. It needs sun and water and then plants live on sunlight. Sunlight is just so important and so does it makes sense that our bodies needs sunlight too and will we have a benefit from that? Yeah.
ANDREA FABRY: Well, you know..
DEBRA: And to take that from the sunlight, well I don’t know what that is.
ANDREA FABRY: Right. Well what you just said is so intuitive. The plants depend on photosynthesis, we know and understand and just have it translated to our own bodies.
All life really does depend on the sun, just so many questions about how and how did that work out and that so I think, but the person that really inspired me is when he mentioned the plant is John Ott who lived in the age of 91 and died not too long ago and he really was a pioneer in this whole field and he came up on it.
Accidentally, he had discovered with one of the leaders in time lapse photography, Walt Disney utilized his photography for his efforts. He was so fascinated with how light impacted plants and especially got seeing it in time lapse form. But his own story was he had a weekly TV show, he’s very busy with Walt Disney in time lapse photography but he had arthritis.
One day, he broke his eye glass and found himself working out in a garden, he lived in the Midwest. He’s outdoors more, didn’t have his glasses because they were broken and he felt better. He noticed that his arthritis improved and said to his wife “We need to go to Florida next week. I want to see if what I’m thinking is true.” and she said “okay”.
And they spent the next week on the beach without his glasses. His arthritis dramatically improved and that really changed his career then towards light and health and utilizing all that he has understood about time lapse photography and just studying this and then writing about it in several books, but basing it on the idea that we’re not that unlike plants.
DEBRA: Well, I think I’ve been studying nature for about 30 years and people know me for saying toxics but in my free time I study nature. I’m really interested in nature. And what I see is this commonality that it doesn’t matter what species, whether it’s a plant or an animal, that there are common factors that are needed for life to exist and sunlight is one of those.
It completely makes sense to me that we need to have a certain base line of natural light. It’s like a fire, I mean really it’s like fire. Fire can warm you and cook your food and things like that. If harnessed and used wisely, it can be very beneficial but it can also be very destructive.
ANDREA FABRY: Yeah.
DEBRA: Even water is that way, you can drown in water but your body can’t live without water. It really is finding the optimal use of these natural elements, not too much and not too little,but just right.
ANDREA FABRY: Right.
DEBRA: Goldilocks and those three bears.
ANDREA FABRY: So true.\
DEBRA: Anyway, so tell us more about what you learned about natural light from the health effects of them, like health benefits of natural light.
ANDREA FABRY: Yes, and going back to John Ott and his glasses broke, I can imagine somebody say “What, we just can’t wear glasses?” No, again, they help us see but his point is that if you can spend some time just even sitting in the shade, without any type of any filtration in the form of glasses or sun glasses. And that’s of course if you refer to why I don’t wear sunglasses unless I need them for safety when I’m driving or such.
So it’s not an either or. It was just very new for me to think that it’s okay for me not to wear glasses and be outside And because again,your eyes just unencumbered experiencing natural light, that doesn’t mean you’ll look into the sun at two in the afternoon. But I can stand in the shade without any type of barrier and gain health. That was just really new for me and it’s funny because I had lost my glasses as well and I stopped wearing them around the house. I didn’t even think about it. Wow, I don’t think I need these as much as I thought I did.
And before I knew it I was only wearing my glasses to drive and even then hardly I was seeing much better and I didn’t need reading glasses. My eye sight has improved over the last four or five years. I still need glasses to drive at night there’s no doubt, but they’ve improved. And not by anything I’ve been trying to do, they’re just better and that was just kind of good fortune and I just tried living a little less with my glasses and found it beneficial but that goes back to John Ott and what happened with his arthritis, like I just wow!, so again, the benefit of just natural light. We do live with windows which are slight barriers but that’s better than complete darkness.
ANDREA FABRY: So it’s all in degrees and just knowledge along this line can be helpful because it doesn’t mean you need to throw out your glasses or never wear sunglass. It’s just presenting that idea that could for 15 minutes I experience natural light even if it’s cold or even if it’s cloudy during the day.
DEBRA: Right. And I’ll just throw in that I live here in Florida, of course you all know that, and so we do get a lot of sunlight but I learned that it’s much better to wear a wide burned hat and be able to get the natural light than it is to wear sun glasses because the sun glasses block the beneficial things. So I don’t wear sun glasses either. I have one in a lifetime.
We need to go to break.
You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Andrea Fabry and we’re talking about light.
We’ll be right back.
= COMMERCIAL BREAK =
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Andrea Fabry. She has a wonderful blog with lot of toxic-free and toxic information and is the owner of Just so Natural Products and you can go her blog at it-takes-time.com and her Just so Natural Products are at justso.com
So Andrea, we’ve established our need for natural light so then, when we go indoors, what happens when we start being exposed to artificial light?
ANDREA FABRY: Well again, there’s so many aspects to this, but one of the first things that introducing indoor light and electrification was enable us to be productive at night whereas before, it is just candle light and there wasn’t whole lot you could do. You just went to bed and you woke up with the sun.
Our bodies were very rhythmicly in-tune to the natural way of living and this presented an immediate hazard if you will, even though it enable us to do a lot more and be more productive and so forth.
So that’s probably the first thing that goes is that natural rhythm and so—but again, I’m grateful for shift workers and people who are able to work around the clock. It never means that I can’t do my job or I have to go back to that. It’s just having this knowledge helps you really live in a healthy way whatever your schedule.
So understanding that artificial light can easily stimulate the Melatonin, or rather suppress the Melatonin so during daylight, we don’t get the Melatonin. That’s very low during the day and then the Melatonin helps us sleep at night. That’s how the rhythm goes and artificial light disrupts this and so you can be wide awake at one in the morning if you’ve been around a lot of artificial light and probably you’ve noticed this, even with our e-readers, can emit this artificial light that keeps us awake. But we don’t necessarily make that connection.
And of course, we can talk more about the types of light bulbs, but understanding the rhythm and the Melatonin and so forth is huge in helping yourself at least adapt and create your own rhythm that will work for you.
DEBRA: It really is because everything in life—again we get back in nature—everything has its cycles. And things aren’t the same all the time. Even in the midst of summer, in the most part of the earth, you don’t get 24 hours of light and there’s always the other side of it, the balance.
And so for us to have so much light in the hours that should be darkness, and remember, there’s more light in the summer and less light in the winter, and our bodies have evolved being accustomed to that change in light so if we take away that cycle, how disruptive is that?
ANDREA FABRY: Right.
DEBRA: Yes. And we don’t even think of those terms. So the first thing you write is the cycle.
Now, considering that, after that then we’re looking at light bulbs in the house. What are the light bulbs?
ANDREA FABRY: Is there anything more confusing than the light bulb IO?
DEBRA: ‘I-O’ think so!
ANDREA FABRY: I get anxiety just walking, of course I am under fluorescent light in the store, but the fact of trying to figure out all these different light bulbs—the good news is, we have a lot of choice and there are incredible things happening with light filtrations in light bulbs so don’t discount that there are good options for you in whatever setting you’re in.
Just know, for those listening, if you don’t feel well under fluorescent lighting, there’s good reason for that and like you mention the flickering, it’s a whole different mechanism, fluorescent lighting than an incandescent bulb. And John Ott, in his research back when found that they were weakening to the whole system. So, you’re not crazy if fluorescent lights aren’t a good fit for you.
The good news is there are some full spectrum fluorescent lights available. For our family and our house, we’ve gone with just the old-fashioned incandescent bulb. There’s LED, there’s halogen. Halogen is an extension of an incandescent. LED is probably since—you know we’re phasing out of incandescent over all because they’re not energy efficient. I guess I would choose, personally just opinion, LED over fluorescent, but the…
DEBRA: I would too.
ANDREA FABRY: …full spectrum fluorescent lights are an option and then there are other ways to cope with fluorescent.
Just to know, the bottom line is that those are tough and they can’t create disruption in the system and you’re not crazy for that, but the way I view light bulbs is this. I just try to use a little artificial light if I can, which means I try to really be outside and I—grant it. I live in Arizona in the summer, that’s not easy and I don’t want to be out in 110 degree heat in the middle of the day, but it’s sunrise and sunset, those are great times to experience natural light and in the winter, I know you’ve got some listeners here and it’s like dark a lot and it’s really cold and I do empathize with that.
But you know, 15minutes all bundled-up, just giving your eyes some exposure to natural light can do wonder. And I think we know that from seasonal aspect disorder. A lot of people get more depressed in the winter. Well, there is reason for that.
DEBRA: There is, absolutely.
So I have taken the same strategy as you, which is to spend as much time outdoors as I can but I spend a lot of time working at my desk. And so, I’m looking at the behavior screen a lot of the time, but I really try not to do that 24 hours a day, that’s the first thing. But the other thing is how I use light in my house.
We’re going to be coming up on a break in less than a minute, but I’ll get started talking about this because I’ve vey consciously decided number one, no fluorescents. All the light bulbs that I have in my house are either incandescent or halogen and there’s these little tiny bulbs. I don’t even know what they are, but I need to look that up. I need to look that up and find about.
But the point that I tried to make in my house is to let in as much natural light as possible. So where I’m sitting in right now, even though I have this big 27-inch computer screen, it’s in the context of 17 feet of windows. And..
ANDREA FABRY: Yeah, that is such great point Debra.
DEBRA: And so I have this light pouring in. And I know that windows block natural light, but we’ve all been growing plants in the window. Everybody grows herbs in the windows so if they grow, there’s enough sun. There are some things coming through.
We’ll talk more about this when we comeback.
You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Andrea Fabry. Her website is it-takes-time.com. We’ll be right back.
= COMMERCIAL BREAK =
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Andrea Fabry. She’s the owner of Just so Natural Products and she’s got a great blog at it-takes-time.com
And before the break we were talking about what I do in my house. And I was trying to get as much as natural light in as possible.
One thing I do not like, I just do not like overhead lights and so I have very few of that in my house. And the lens that I have I rarely use. I use the hall light, but I mostly put just task lighting and I just put a light where I’m sitting or a light where the job is, like I have a whole row of halogens around my kitchen sink and I have a good incandescent light over the stove. But even at my desk I have my computer and I can see that, but I just have one task light. The whole room is not full of artificial light. It’s just light coming in from the outside.
And I also used skylights in my bathroom. I remodeled my bathroom and I put a big skylight over the shower, so if it leaks, it leaks into the shower. But it has never leaked. People are worried the skylights are going to leak. I’ve had skylights in several houses and I’ve never had them leaked, but it brings so much light into the bathroom that the only time I turned the light on is at night.
It’s just this judicious use of light bulbs also saves energy, but also you don’t have to illuminate every corner of your house, just where it needs light.
ANDREA FABRY: Ones idea in less can be more and just going to bed earlier, you’re just going to expose yourself best to artificial light.
With knowledge come a lot of power and a lot of change in the way you make decisions. And that’s huge to have a skylight light in the bathroom. It’s so needed when we have water, plumbing, and all those issues, how great is that? You just alluded to the one of the great things about natural light and that is disinfecting, and one thing…
DEBRA: Yes it is. It is!
ANDREA FABRY: Yes. And a lot of that is the UV that we’re so afraid of.
I just put laundry if I dry laundry in a dryer in a dark setting like that works, only the electricity that’s doing that versus putting my laundry after I washed it under the sun, it smells so much cleaner.
DEBRA: I want to ask you a question about that because I would love to put my laundry out, but every time I’ve done it everything just get stiff. Does yours get stiff? What do you do about that?
ANDREA FABRY: I don’t have the answer to that except that sometimes, I’ll just—right before it’s really totally dry. Put it in the dryer for maybe 10 minutes.
I have a friend and she doesn’t own a dryer and she got five kids. So, I’m where you are Debra, I’m like, “I’ll do it when it works for me and find a way.” But I have my dryer, but she doesn’t. And she said, “We just get used to the stiff when I fold it and that stiff inside it kind of loses up. I’m good with little technology here and there, but the idea of how much better it smells is the disinfecting property.
DEBRA: Yeah, I mean, bring sun in to anything and in the right amount and it’s going to be really good.
So any other tips about how our listeners can make the switch from toxic light bulb to natural light?
ANDREA FABRY: Well, again, I think the light bulb information is very valuable and I think that’s brilliant about overhead light, I agree with that.
Less is more and I think more is table lamp. But all that is to me is, that’s really fun to study and learn about and change. But in terms of taking this type of information and not being overwhelmed, I just go back to the basics of living, clean food, clean air, clean water, and I would take this —I’m just more drawn to the outdoors than I was before and that change was in me.
I was living in Arizona behind my computer writing about health for a long time before I really thought about that. Except that inside me, I don’t want to be at the computer this much. And every free moment and even in the evening, I just love what I do, I love the internet, I’m all about technology so…
DEBRA: I love it too.
ANDREA FABRY: Yeah. I love it!
So there’s a lot to be said about health and enjoying what you do so I think I found my calling in life and I love it, but I also knew that there was just a lack of balance. So, just the idea of 15 minutes in natural light, if that’s to take away for a discussion like this, that’s going to do so much. And add in, maybe I won’t have my contacts in or my glasses on for that 15 minutes is changed and just that alone.
I am convinced in John Ott’s book; he showed a progression of a little girl who had a tumor in her eye. She lived in the Midwest and it was the winter. And it took a year and they—there was a doctor, a friend of his, and he shared the case study and the photograph. And this is leading to answering your question here.
So Midwest, winter and this tumor, she moved away from processed food—this is I think the 70s or the 80s—more than what we have now, and just 15 minutes a day, 4 times a day, through the winter and all year, it took about a year but the progression or progress with her eye is pretty astounding and I find—well, I’m happy for her obviously, but for all of us to know that just small amounts of time in natural light can do that much to boost our health. I think that’s encouraging.
DEBRA: I think it’s very encouraging and I would add to your 15 minutes a day of sunlight, to use that 15 minutes to go for a walk. I think that even people like—I wear glasses and I know a lot of people do, but I think most people could go for a walk without their glasses especially when you’re wearing them for reading or driving or something like that. I can walk without my glasses and I think that that lets them in, your natural light, but then also it gives you a little exercise. It gives you a break, you get outside and if people would just do that—there’s just basics about health.
ANDREA FABRY: Yes, the simplest things, yes.
DEBRA: They’re basics. It’s like you need to drink water, you need to eat clean food, you need to have sunshine, you need to have natural light, but natural light is one of those.
And we have so much attention to healthcare costs and people are having these strange diseases at earlier stages and there’s so much health care cost, there are side effects of all these drugs, and yet people are looking to more drugs and what kind of technological things can they do when they’re not doing the basic things like getting natural light. And it’s just…
ANDREA FABRY: You know I have a couple of tips if you—if this is a new idea to go for a walk without your glasses, this is new for me. And one tip that I would give and I have read, and this is obvious too intuitively, and that is not to strain your eyes to be looking as far as you can look because it’s an adjustment to be without your glasses even for that amount of time outside. And my suggestion and this doctor also suggested don’t strain your eyes when you’re trying this. Look at what’s close to you. You’ll be able to see that. So that’s just a small thing that can make it more relaxing and beneficial.
DEBRA: Yes, yes. There are all these programs I haven’t done in and done with those, all these programs about how to give up your glasses by doing these eye exercises and things. And it just starts with—I’ve read over and over that your glasses actually make you not see as well and so I don’t wear glasses all the time.
In fact, I went to an eye doctor because I needed to get a pair of glasses for driving and of course, they want to give you glasses to wear 24 hours a day. And that’s like, “No, thank you.” I’m just going to wear my reading glasses when I need to read and the rest of the time, I can see well enough to be able to see what I need to see.
ANDREA FABRY: Yes.
DEBRA: I don’t have to wear glasses on 24 hours a day. Then I can just let my eyes rest and be in their natural state instead of straining to see through this glass. That’s part of health too.
ANDREA FABRY: They found like simple concepts but in today’s world they really aren’t like they’re foreign and when you…
DEBRA: They’re just not known, yeah.
ANDREA FABRY: Yeah, and the thought that I could through a day and not wear my glasses five years ago was so shocking to me. But something felt good about that or right, and it is. It’s like you said, sometimes it’s the simplest change.
DEBRA: This has been very enlightening. Good to talk to you Andrea. We’re at the end of the show we only got about 30 seconds left, so thank you so much for being on the show.
And again, I’ll give your website addresses, it-takes-time.com—with hyphens—it-takes-time.com is Andrea’s toxic-free blog and justso.com is her natural products website.
I’m Debra Lynn Dadd…
ANDREA FABRY: And Debra, as always, I sure appreciate all that you do, all the pioneering you have done in this field. It’s just great, great to be with you again.
DEBRA: Thank you so much.
This is Toxic Free Talk Radio I’m Debra Lynn Dadd.