Working For Yourself - Why You Should Choose To Climb The Mountain

Every day something happens to make me appreciate how lucky I am. Today it was sitting in the audience watching my son's school performance of The Sound Of Music, or at least a very small part of it.

So why am I so lucky? Well, there are many reasons.

My son has autism and will be leaving his current school this summer. Whilst his disability often gives me sleepless nights, I realised my troubles are nothing compared to those of many parents. The diversity of problems faced by the other children who attend the same wonderful Special Needs School; make my son's autism seem a blessing. That's something I never thought I'd ever say.

Another reason I am so lucky is I discovered a way to work from home, which gives me total freedom. I chose to be my own boss and as such I set my own hours. I never feel guilty about taking time out to visit the doctor or dentist, or attend something as important (to me at least) as a school play. I don't have to ask permission from anyone, which is just as well as this year I went twice.

The play was excellent and every child put so much effort and enthusiasm into his or her performance. It was enough to make me weep, especially when they sang Climb Every Mountain. I guess it really hit me the size of the mountains those children have face, although during the performance they all looked so incredibly happy you'd never guess their lives were anything other than a bed of roses.

Anyway, back to the advantages of working from home.

Working from home saves so much expense and time. Only last week, my eldest son, who travels to work each day by train was extremely late home. He wasn't working extra hours or going anywhere after he'd left his office, but his train had no conductor so was cancelled. It meant he had to wait on a cold, draughty and crowded railway station until the next train appeared.

Commuting is no fun at the best of times, which probably explains why I never see anyone smiling in the mornings. I heard the other day the average worker spends five and a half years of his life travelling backwards and forwards to work. Thankfully, I don't.

Apart from the time element, just think of the expense. Fuel prices are spiralling out of control and everyone is experiencing the knock on effect. Where once I used to be able to fill my car up with petrol for £30, I now have to double that.

For those who commute to work by car it's a major consideration, and in many places you have to pay to drive your car on certain roads, through cities at certain times, and to park. It all adds up, and for some people, the cost of getting to work is almost as much as they earn.

Then, of course, there's the weather. It's so unpredictable. You can set out in the morning with it being sunny and warm and by the return journey it is cold, wet and miserable. You really have to take two sets of clothing with you to work, or wear lots of layers so you can strip off, or add on as necessary. If you work from home it's no problem, and depending on when you choose to work, you can even do it in your nightclothes. That solves the problem of having to own a "suitable" work wardrobe or having to wear an unflattering uniform.

Also, if you work from home, you don't have to worry about colleagues whom you might possibly not get on with, or get involved in office politics. You can take a toilet or coffee break when you wish, and even have an afternoon power nap if necessary. Apparently, 10 or 20 minutes in the afternoon boosts production by about 20%, because we are naturally bi-phasic, meaning we need to sleep twice each day. The experts say we require a long sleep at night and a short one in the afternoon, but if you have a job what you need and what you get are two very different things.

Life should be fun. Work should be fun and it's so sad that's not the case for most people with jobs who spend most of their working hours wishing they were somewhere else.

A job is something where you trade your time or expertise for money, and when I left school the normal working hours for jobs were between 9.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. How times have changed.

The hours have certainly got longer and there's no job security. Everyone is replaceable, and there's always someone waiting to wear your shoes. It makes for a very unsettling experience, which is another reason why, if you possibly can, you need to work for yourself.

I blog and of course blogging won't work for everyone and the prospect of being your own boss may seem daunting. It's a huge mountain to climb, but it's nothing compared to the mountains the children at my son's school are climbing. The difference is, like me, you have a choice and as in the song you might just end up finding your dream!

Jean Shaw


Dental Amalgam Poisoning - Now Do You Believe Me?

The FDA, the world's major health regulator announced on 5th June 2008, something thousands of us have known for years, - dental amalgam fillings are toxic.

Amalgam means a mixture of mercury and another metal (or metals). In the early 1800's it was originally developed as a cheaper alternative to gold, and consisted of a paste made from the filings of silver coins and mercury. However, the impurities in the coins caused it to expand and crack the teeth, so a different composition was devised.

This new mixture, a combination of 50% liquid mercury and other metals such as silver, tin, copper and zinc in different proportions has always caused safety concerns. In America there were even Amalgam Wars between those in the gold camp who said the amalgam was poisonous, and those in the amalgam camp who accused their adversaries of being too greedy and denying the majority of the population access to dental fillings.

Indeed, in 1845 there was a resolution passed pronouncing the use of amalgams as "malpractice". Unfortunately, the ban wasn't very effective, and whilst dentists disputed its safety, it became the filling of choice because of financial reasons.

Unquestionably, amalgam is inexpensive, easy to use and durable. However, what has always been questionable is whether the mercury is permanently trapped in the amalgam. Until relatively recently most dentists maintained it is, although they couldn't prove it. On the other hand, there has been much evidence to the contrary.

We now have visible proof mercury vapour leaks from amalgam fillings at room temperature, and confirmation that chewing, brushing your teeth and drinking hot liquids releases it even faster.

Still, even with this evidence, and the statement by the World Health Organisation that there is no safe level of mercury in humans; dentists and governments have maintained mercury vapour does not present a problem. They theorised it was quickly passed through the system and passed out via the urine or faeces.

That may be so for people with good immune systems but for anyone whose immunity is compromised in some way, mercury is particularly dangerous. I should know. I had mercury poisoning caused by my dental amalgams and make no secret I believe it was dental work carried out whilst I was pregnant, combined with the mercury preservative (thimerosal) in childhood vaccines which contributed to my youngest son's autism.

Clearly, I am not alone as it was the lawsuit brought by advocacy group, Moms Against Mercury, (who are seeking to ban the use of mercury in amalgam fillings and children’s vaccinations), which resulted in an official statement appearing on the FDA website, admitting mercury-containing dental fillings 'may have neuro-toxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses.'

Mercury is a fat binding toxin and if it can't be excreted for whatever reason, it will attach itself to various organs of the body. Depending on which one (or ones) it attaches itself to, different symptoms will be experienced and no two people will present with the same problems. Also, the symptoms may not appear for days, weeks, months or even years after the amalgam fillings have been placed so often there is no connection made between dental work and ill health. This makes mercury poisoning very difficult for health professionals to recognise, and unfortunately, in many cases has resulted in either misdiagnosis, or the misplaced belief the patient is a hypochondriac.

One general indication mercury poisoning may be a problem is if a person suddenly gets a lot of inexplicable symptoms, which don't fit into any of the classic boxes., i.e. Parkinsons, Alzheimers, ME.

Some countries already ban the use of mercury fillings in pregnant women and now the FDA are calling for further research, and may eventually announce a complete ban. It's long overdue in my opinion.

Dental amalgam may be easy to place but is difficult to remove. It has to be carried out SAFELY using correct procedures. It is not something to be undertaken lightly. If you are already suffering the effects of mercury, the last thing you want is for your body to flooded with more.

If you suspect mercury poisoning seek professional help immediately. The problem will not go away. As long as you have dental amalgams in your mouth, they will release mercury vapour twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year., and if you cannot get rid of the mercury, your symptoms will get worse.

Also you need to bear in mind if you have your amalgam fillings removed, whilst it will prevent them creating more mercury, you will still need to get rid of the mercury inside you by using some form of chelation. This can also be a dangerous process so take care especially if you have any renal problems.

Good Luck!

Jean Shaw



Barbecues, Food Labelling And Bacteria

I've just watched an interesting programme on tv about the amount of food we waste. Apparently the average family in UK throws away one third of everything they buy,and 40% of that is fresh food. You know, that good stuff we are recommended to eat five portions of every day.

Somehow the makers of the documentary determined every DAY we bin –

2.8 million tomatoes
4.4 million apples
5.1 million potatoes
70 million slices of bread
1.2 million sausages
1 million slices of ham

This waste goes into Landfill sites, which creates methane gas and contributes to global warming. If you consider this is happening in all developed countries worldwide, the waste is enormous.

So, why do we throw so much food away?

Apparently it has much to do with our lack of knowledge on how to store products, and anxiety and confusion as to the meaning of the Best Before By, Sell By and Use By dates, which appear on the packaging.

It seems the Best Before By date is merely a guideline, and is more about the quality of the product rather than safety.

However, scientific studies have revealed the Use By and Sell By dates are more significant. There is a real health risk to some people if they are ignored.

Globally, ten children die every minute from malnutrition and yet supermarkets throw mountains of food away because of damaged packaging, lost food labels on tins, and expired Best Before dates.

These products may not be saleable to retailers, but someone, somewhere could use them. I'm sure the starving millions, or people on low incomes would be grateful for the goods.

The supermarkets say the proportion of food they throw away is minimal compared to the amount they carry, but is it too much? Collectively, each "minimal" combines to make a "substantial" amount over time, and are the supermarkets making us neurotic about the dates just to boost sales? After all, if we bin everything just past its Best Before date, won't we just go out and buy more?

No-one wants to get food poisoning and clearly certain foods like dairy and fresh meat, fish, and poultry need careful observation, but even then, provided the food is stored and cooked properly, much could be eaten.

One common cause of food poisoning is Campylobacter. This common bacteria causes fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea, but thorough hygiene, plus careful storage, refrigeration and cooking of food can prevent this affecting anyone who is fit and healthy. Susceptible people are the very young, the old and those with a lowered immune system.

Bacteria cannot withstand high temperatures so it is particularly important to cook food thoroughly, especially with barbecues. Many people manage to burn the meat on the outside and yet it remains uncooked in the middle. Another thing to watch out for is the cross contamination of raw and cooked food. You must NEVER use the same plate or chopping board, and also if you marinate the meat, leave it covered in the refrigerator rather than outside.

Also, you must ensure you wash your salad correctly.

Of course the absolute best way to ensure your health is not at risk from dodgy food is to boost your immune system by deliberately giving yourself bacteria. This time, however, you take a daily dose of good, friendly, healthy, probiotic bacteria. These are the good guys, which everyone needs.

The next time you go shopping, instead of wasting money on too much food destined for the landfill, might it not be wiser to invest in some active probiotics and your good health instead?

Jean Shaw


Antibacterial v Probiotic - What You Should Know About Cleanliness

I take a teaspoon of high quality active probiotics every day, and despite being exposed to a particularly nasty stomach bug, which is currently "going around", I have remained very healthy, unlike the rest of the people I know. Incase you are unsure what I mean by probiotics; they are the good, friendly bacteria we need to keep us well.

Both my elderly parents have been suffering from the sickness and diarrhoea, and as I write this, my dad is in an isolation ward in hospital. He has a dodgy heart and is on medication for various other ailments. Because he has been unable to retain any fluids, his blood pressure kept dropping and he passed out on us twice. The second time I thought he had died.

Apparently, when you get low blood pressure you don't get sufficient oxygen to the heart and this can trigger a heart attack. In view of his medical history, the paramedics took my dad to hospital in an ambulance, and thankfully, he's now recovering.

My mum, on the other hand is still suffering and one of my sisters', who has been helping me look after our parents, has also gone down with it. The last time I rang she was still too weak to get out of bed.

I, on the other hand, am fine, but as I already mentioned, I take a very good probiotic every day. My personal army of friendly bacteria appear to be doing a great job of looking after me, so I have been doing the hospital run.

MRSA is a real concern in hospitals these days and I noticed a considerable amount of dry hand wash bottles around. They were in corridors, at the bottom of the beds, etc., and I thought how convenient they are, and how much time they must save.

However, time, or rather lack of it, is probably one of the main reasons there are so many health problems around, particularly stomach upsets. Hand washing is not what it used to be. Everyone is in a rush.

We are always being reminded of the importance of washing our hands, and antibacterial products are usually being promoted as the answer to all our problems.

So, what are Antibacterial Products anyway? Well, here's what I've discovered.

Antibacterial soap is any cleaning product to which active antibacterial ingredients have been added, and most liquid hand and body soaps contain these antibacterial chemicals. Two of the most common are alcohol and triclosan. This is a preservative and can cause allergic reactions, contact dermatitis, causes liver damage in animals, and is toxic by ingestion.

With so many anti bacterial products on the market, some people suggest it is the overuse of antibacterial chemicals, which has resulted in certain bacteria evolving and become more resistant. There is a great variety of bacterium, and the effectiveness of a product against one particular type doesn't ensure the same result on an unrelated type of bacteria.

Actually you can get rid of bacteria with ordinary soap, and according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibacterial soaps are not necessary. They say washing your hands thoroughly with ordinary soap and warm water is one of the most effective ways to ward off infection.

However, if you are not convinced and still feel the need to use antibacterial soaps and cleaners, you need to consider the following:

* The antibacterial components of soaps, usually triclosan or, less commonly, triclocarban, (which apparently can cause photoallergic reactions, convulsions, and possibly cancer over prolonged use), need to be left on a surface for about two minutes in order to work. I don't know many people who are that patient, so the soap is washed off before the antibacterial ingredients can do their job.

* Some scientists think bacteria may develop a resistance to bactericidal agents over time.

* Some bacteria actually benefit us. The normal population of bacteria on our bodies not only eats our sweat, but also helps defend us against truly harmful, invasive bacteria. When you see products which claim to kill all bacteria you need to ask yourself if that's what you really want, especially when they are killing them with potentially toxic chemicals. I think I'm walking proof it's better to increase the good bacteria in your body by adding probiotics than try to wipe out the bad with antibacterial chemicals which kill the good bacteria you need as well.

* Many common diseases are viral in nature, and are therefore not prevented by antibacterial products.

Anyway, now I've passed on that bit of information, I'm off to face that nasty old stomach bug again. I'll be okay though – I've got my probiotic army inside me.

For more information on the health benefits and cleaning abilities of probiotics, see www.ProbioticsForHealth.com


Toilets, Bacteria, Probiotics and Health

I seem to spend half my life loitering outside toilets. No, I am not some sort of pervert, but I have an autistic son who has a penchant for cleanliness, especially where his hands are concerned. He just loves water and has almost missed a flight, and been late for a stage entrance because of it. Whilst everyone was waiting patiently in the wings, he was washing his hands in a manner which would make even the most demanding hospital matron proud.

My son has no sense of urgency and little empathy for other people, so when he does use the mens' toilet, he hogs the hand drier. Anyone waiting behind him eventually gives up and wipes their hands on their trousers.

Whenever possible I make him use the disabled toilet because that way I know he's safe. He goes in alone whilst I loiter outside. My friend once told me about a lady who'd taken her disabled nephew out for the day and allowed him to go in to the toilet on his own. He never came out. Someone had slit his throat.

I've never forgotten her words.

I know that's a bit extreme and highly unlikely to happen in my local supermarket, but I'm a mother and I worry. Daily on the news you hear of unprovoked mindless violence happening against innocent people, and knife crime is common. Just today the stabbing of a 15 year old girl in a lift made the evening news, and apparently 25% of patients on a trauma ward at a large hospital in Southampton are knife victims.

Like most people with disabilities, my son is vulnerable, but this article isn’t about knife culture.

As a small child my son had numerous ear infections. He also had numerous courses of antibiotics before he went on to develop autism. That's quite common. No-one told me if you take antibiotics, you MUST take probiotics to replenish the good bacteria so essential for a healthy immune system.

We are a nation obsessed with getting rid of germs using anti bacterial soaps, sprays and liquids. However, we do actually need a few germs around so our bodies can build up an immune system. It's no wonder our children have so many illnesses and allergies when their immune systems never get a chance to develop. We wipe out their good bacteria, then expose them to toxic synthetic chemicals with our cleaning materials and air fresheners.

Maybe there's a better way though. I know for a fact my son has improved tremendously since I started giving him a daily dose of good quality probiotics and started cleaning my house with bacteria.

Now I know that may sound weird, but think about it. The doctors are repeatedly warning us certain health problems are becoming resistant to antibiotics. These kill off ALL bacteria, so why not attack the bad pathonogenic bacteria in a different way. Why not over power them with good bacteria and make it a war of numbers?

You might not like the idea of your toilets and work surfaces being sprayed with bacteria, but the bad ones are there anyway. Personally I'd rather spray with good bacteria than toxic synthetic chemicals which are designed to kill. At least they won't do me any harm if I get them on my skin or breathe them in.

So as I hang around outside the toilets, I'm grateful my son washes his hands properly. He's rarely ever ill but I'm sure it's more to do with the probiotic bacteria he has on a daily basis than the amount of time he spends in the toilet.

If you're interested in your health and want to find out more about probiotics go to http://www.probioticsforhealth.com/

You can also watch my video