Surviving Summer Series: Chlorine. Top 3 foods for swimmers.


Memorial Day has disappeared in the rearview mirror, folks. We’re neck-deep in swimming pool season (*stifles excited squeal*), so let’s get real about staying healthy as we increase our exposure to America’s sweetheart…chlorine. Chlorination is the most popular method for disinfecting swimming pools in the United States [1], and we’ll leave it at that for now. (Yes, there is a heated debate about the safety and ethics of using chlorine—Get curious, and investigate!)

Many of us have heard about respiratory problems and skin/eye irritation from swimming in chlorinated pools, but researchers are now investigating other associated dysfunctions including liver toxicity and metabolic stress.

While the chlorination process kills the “bad bugs” in our swimming pools, it also forms toxic compounds called disinfection by-products (DBPs). Interest is mounting in the building evidence connecting DBP-exposure to increased liver burden, impaired energy production, cell destruction, altered construction and function of proteins and fats, and unbalancing the body’s acid-base profile [1].

So what can we do? Well, you’re not going to keep me from testing out every single swimming pool in my new neighborhood, so let’s give our bodies some heavy ammunition to counteract the chemical exposure.

  1. Shellfish, especially scallops, mussels, and clams. How perfect is this?! Cravings for shellfish skyrocket during summer months. Maybe our bodies are telling us to head to the ocean for all our warm-weather needs. Shellfish, along with dark poultry meats, contain the amino acid taurine—a potent antioxidant and a suggested key player in the body’s attempt to safely process and eliminate DPBs [1].
  2. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Cruciferous vegetables, protein-rich foods, allium vegetables (garlic, onions, leeks, chives), and eggs are all sulfur-rich foods that contribute to the body’s ability to detoxify toxic compounds [2]. Our sulfur resources are depleted when the body is faced with the added stress of detoxifying DBPs.
  3. Berries—goji berries, wild blueberries, elderberries, cranberries, and blackberries. Five out of the “Top 10 High Antioxidant Foods List” are berries, so this makes things easy for us when deciding on delish poolside snacks.

So what might a summer vacay meal plan look like? Let’s throw one together now:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs & Brussels sprouts
Mid-morning snack: Whole milk yogurt topped with dried goji berries
Lunch: Finger foods packed in the cooler! Broccoli & cauliflower florets, other chopped veggies, olives, nuts, chilled meats, and your favorite dips.
Mid-afternoon snack: Handful of mix of blueberries & cranberries
Dinner: Scallops sautéed in butter and garlic. Use leftover veggies from lunch for a quick stir-fry on the side.

Now, my friends, dive into this summer season with the confidence that you’ve stocked your body with nutrients to help minimize the risks associated with swimming in chlorinated pools.

Would you like to talk to a nutrition professional about your environmental exposures and how you can minimize your risks?  Call 703-679-7958 or e-mail



[1] Li, J.-H., Wang, Z.-H., Zhu, X.-J., Deng, Z.-H., Cai, C.-X., Qiu, L.-Q., … Lin, Y.-J. (2015). Health Effects from Swimming Training in Chlorinated Pools and the Corresponding Metabolic Stress Pathways. PLoS ONE, 10(3).

[2] Mercola, J. (2011, September 12). Are you getting enough sulfur in your body? Mercola. Retrieved from

[3] Wójcik, O. P., Koenig, K. L., Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, A., Costa, M., & Chen, Y. (2010). The potential protective effects of taurine on coronary heart disease. Atherosclerosis, 208(1), 19.

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Pleasure to meet you, friends.

I’ve been anticipating this post for months now and am finally blessed with the circumstances to follow my dreams. Let’s start on October 9th when I resigned from the job I’ve had since 2008; it’s been my only “real job” since college. I won’t go into too much detail about what I did, but I will say that it was a major negative contributing factor to my stress level, anxiety, social and family life, happiness, and health. I began to hate my life and came to the awful realization that none of my daily actions were leading me towards what I have in mind for myself. Two weeks after my resignation, I said goodbye to my career and hello to the unknown.

So, what now? I’m enrolled as a full-time student working towards a Masters in Nutrition and Integrative Health, and I’m so psyched about it. If there’s any interest, I’d be happy to share more about my coursework because it is and will continue to be part of my journey over the next two years. You see, my two-year career goal is to earn my Masters degree, pass my Board certification to become a Certified Nutrition Specialist, and open my very own integrative health practice.

Now let’s back up to the present and start talking about how comes into play by talking about my short term goals.  This gets into the uncomfortable nitty gritty of my current self and my ideal self. I’m just going to lay it out.

This is me NOW:

  • I’m unhealthy.
  • I’ve lost touch with nature and movement.
  • I suffer from moderate depression and anxiety.
  • I’m a psychosomatic insomniac.
  • I’ve lost the ability to be present in everything that I do.

This is my IDEAL self:

  • I eat not only for enjoyment and convenience; I eat to thrive.  I’ve been on a paleo kick for the past two years, and while I’m still very much in that camp, I’d like to shift my focus to whole foods.  How can I maintain the integrity of the whole food while still enjoying the rich flavors I love so much?  How can I use food to heal my body and mind?
  • My lungs are filled with fresh air.  My skin is kissed by the sun and tickled by the breeze.  I slide into bed at night with not only a tired mind but a well-used body.
  • I’m happy and at peace.  I wake up in the morning with anticipation.  I’m prepared to face the stressors, disappointments, relationships, and beauty of the day.
  • Bedtime is the sweet ending to my day.  The bedroom is dark and quiet.  My mind slows down without any unnatural encouragement.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll slip into my dreams before my boyfriend does (so unlikely).
  • I am present in every moment.  I allow myself to feel pain when it comes.  I embrace and savor happiness.  I put down my cell phone.  I enjoy even the mundane life of a “housegirlfriend” and student.

I’d like to use in two ways: as a memoir of my journey to wherever it is I’m going and as the start of my career as a healer.  The first use is self-explanatory, so let me explain the second.

I’m seeking certification as a Certified Nutrition Specialist to establish legitimacy in the healthcare industry.  I also hope to make my services accessible to those who can’t pay for out-of-pocket appointments by accepting insurance reimbursement.  I will be eligible to sit for my boards in 2017, but until then, I’d like to start a dialog with my peers and interested internet friends about health, happiness, and science.

Things to look forward to at

  • Musings on my developing models of health, wellness, disease, and illness
  • Product reviews
  • Suggested reads, watches, tastes, and listenings
  • Recipe reviews, suggestions, and modifications
  • Pleas for help with things I’m really bad at: gardening, baking, tons of stuff really
  • Requests?

I’ve been looking forward to joining the health blogging movement for years now.  I already feel like part of the family as a reader and am ready to start sharing my own voice.  Pleasure to meet you!

Find me on Instagram @elosogigi and on Twitter @bemindfulhappy

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