Good Health Requires More Than Just Good Food!
While diet and nutrition are essential to good health, these are only part of the total picture of wellbeing. Other areas that must be addressed when looking at gut health and overall physical health include movement and exercise, stress and sleep, connection and community, as well as our toxic load.
There are certainly a huge number of toxins that can harm health, such as pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, and more, but the damage done to our body from modernized life accumulating in our toxic load does not always come in the form of chemicals; sometimes, it comes from technology and devices and, for many, goes unseen. However, unseen does not mean unaffected.
There are electronic and radiation additions to our toxic load as well, coming from non-native EMF's (man-made electromagnetic frequencies) and radiofrequency radiation (such as Wi-Fi). Here, I would like to dig into their effects on our bodies, specifically looking at how modern technology damages our health and microbiome.
With my primary focus being on gut health and the microbiome, I cannot overlook this relationship between technology and our health. With more people (including myself) working from home now, and the recent rollout of more 5G networks, many of us are on the computer and using technology more than ever before, being exposed to more electromagnetic "pollution" than ever, so it is an important time to address this issue.
While many technological advances can be convenient and can certainly make it easier to earn a living during these strange times, the increased use of technology does not come without consequences—but there are ways to interface with these technologies to decrease their negative impact on our health.
I will cover some of the health effects of wireless technology and EMF's, but more importantly, I want to give some practical solutions for ways to improve your relationship with technology, both for health, privacy and happiness.
Some of my solutions and tips may seem extreme or darn near impossible but please believe that they are totally doable--I know, because I do them myself!
The Electromagnetic Load
The overarching theme of all my suggestions regarding protecting your health from harmful technology is this: remove anything wireless or “smart” from the home and, if you can help it, elsewhere in your life. I’m talking Wi-Fi, smart phones, Bluetooth headphones, and so much more.
The primary reason for this elimination is to decrease your exposure to non-native electronic and magnetic frequencies created through industrialization, often referred to as EMF's, "dirty" electricity (high frequency voltage transients), and radiofrequency radiation emitted by wireless devices and other electronic technologies, as these unequivocally cause damage the body.
Some refer to the amount of EMF’s and other harmful radiation our bodies must deal with as the "electromagnetic load," equated to the "toxic load" we bear from other environmental toxins we accumulate in this industrialized society. Our goal must be to decrease our electromagnetic load in order to protect our health.
While some people are sensitive to EMF's (they are often diagnosed with EMS, or electromagnetic sensitivity) and immediately feel their negative health effects, this is not true for everyone--and we should look to those with EMS as our canaries in the coal mine, showing us that these "invisible" pollutants are very real and have an effect on us.
EMF’s are unavoidable, especially in public spaces as nearly every place imaginable has Wi-Fi now, but also because all electricity has some impact on us (even the sun and our own bodies emit native EMF’s--we are electrical beings, after all!). So, while we may not be able to completely avoid these technologies, we must choose practices and products that emit less radiation and fewer EMF's, decreasing the burden on our bodies—especially with the knowledge that we are only beginning to understand how harmful these so-called innovations can be.
Why Should You Care About EMF's? How Do They Affect Our Health?
You cannot successfully carry out your healing journey--including healing your gut--without considering how these frequencies and radiation may be damaging your body.
As one paper from 2016 noted: “Studies, empirical observations, and patient reports clearly indicate interactions between EMF exposure and health problems. Individual susceptibility and environmental factors are frequently neglected. New wireless technologies and applications have been introduced without any certainty about their health effects, raising new challenges for medicine and society.”
This may seem fringe-y and far-fetched, or unimportant and even theoretical. Luckily, I have lots of science to back up what I am saying and am not basing all of my recommendations on feelings (though my intuition tells me these technologies are harmful, just to back up all that nice research).
These effects discussed below offer a bit of background on the why of the lifestyle changes I suggest implementing, but I am only scratching the surface here—click the links provided for more information and dig deeper into the sources related to EMF and radiofrequency health effects.
Some of the noted effects of non-native EMF’s (from man-made technologies) include:
Clearly, these EMF's disrupt the growth of microbes, increase oxidation, create stress in the body, interfere with our nervous system, and can potentially inhibit liver function--all leading me to the conclusion that they must be addressed in the pursuit of gut health and improving the microbiome.
One researcher has noted: “Cultures have shown beneficial bacteria grows more slowly in the presence of electromagnetic fields, says Rau, allowing pathological organisms to dominate.” Think of how this could impact the beneficial microbes necessary for a healthy gut and robust microbiome, especially with how inundated we are with these technologies!
Practical Steps to Decrease EMF Radiation Exposure: Un-Cut the Wires!
I am not here to just report on problems, but offer solutions--that is the true way forward! If you want to try to incorporate decreased technology practices in your life, start to take some of these suggested steps below and begin to peel away the layers of modern technology.
While we can’t remove all devices from our life, it is time to seek out alternatives and new habits that allow us to move toward less entanglement and more connection. As you lower your electromagnetic load, you will see a benefit to not only to your physical health, but to mental wellbeing and connections as well.
Disclaimer: this will not be easy. Certainly, there are sacrifices to be made, routines and habits to adjust, but putting even some of these steps into place is worth it. Just like the sacrifices and effort required for eating healthy and exercising, these changes will require some discipline, too. These are just steps we have taken at our home, but finding what is right for you will be your own journey--enjoy it and be proud of every step you take!
Other Factors to Support Decreasing Dependence on Tech
Health outcomes are certainly my main motivation to remove wireless and Bluetooth devices from your life, but other reasons also exist. These devices drastically decrease your privacy, as they are constantly collecting transmitting your data, while also tracking your every move. They also inhibit your ability to ground and connect with the people and the tangible world around you.
Some measures we have used to increase our privacy online include: Turn off location services, microphones and cameras (or even cover the camera lens) on your computers/devices when not using them; ditch Google and use Smart Page or Duck Duck Go for search engines; switch to Brave Brower over Chrome or Edge for your web browser; use Linux as an operating system over Microsoft; and my husband insists on using ProtonMail over Gmail for email purposes, but I am still working on transitioning to this myself.
Removal of unnecessary devices also helps re-train you to communicate and interact more for real: make phone calls, play games with your family, do more physical activity (can you get up to turn on the light, or do you really need a smart lightbulb??), and get out more in nature, without so much assistance from and distraction by technology.
I am not necessarily against all technology—hello, I am typing this on a computer right now--but I encourage us to view it as a tool and not as a measure of status or progress that must continue to expand into more areas of our lives and become more advanced. I like to try and compartmentalize it as best I can: use it for work when necessary and for entertainment in moderation, choosing devices and appliances that decrease my electromagnetic load.
Want to Learn More?
For more information (like, way more) on the history and effects of these technologies on our health, I encourage you to read the book The Invisible Rainbow by Arthur Firstenberg. He goes in-depth into the damages these technologies do to our bodies, including our microbiome and immune system, our mental health and so much more.
The Weston A. Price Foundation has a great series of podcasts diving into EMF information and effects, which you can check out here: https://www.westonaprice.org/podcast-category/emfs-5g/
There are also several great blog posts and articles on these sites: Children's Health Defense Fund, EMF Empowerment, and EMF Academy if you want to learn more about news, products, and steps to take to protect your health.
The goal here is not to be perfection or piety; the goal I am proposing is simply the commitment to better health through decreasing our electromagnetic load, in addition to nutrition, movement and more. The process of untangling from wireless technology may be slow I, but is necessary to support gut health and overall wellbeing—and our household is proof that it can be done!
Start with one step, a few or even all of them, doing what you can to gradually move away from incessant technology use and bombardment with harmful radiation. What steps have you and your family taken to help decrease your EMF load? Let me know in the comments!
Brine & Broth
I am a gut health-focused nutritionist and online health coach based in Southwest Wisconsin. My recipes and philosophies center around traditional, nutrient-dense foods that support robust gut health.