Sunday, July 25, 2010

What seems right . . .

. . . keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27 (NIV)

For years I’ve waged a continuing war against hypothyroidism, weight gain, insomnia and fatigue. I’ve spent endless hours researching, especially the thyroid. Last fall I ordered a vitamin-mineral supplement especially formulated to support the thyroid gland. I worked on weight loss, avoiding sugar and white flour. I couldn’t give up my tea, though. I like it sweet—two packets of artificial sweetener per cup, two to three cups a day. Since sucralose was touted to be made from sugar, I figured it was better for me than the other kinds. It was the right thing to do. So I thought.

I did everything I could to get and stay healthy, even buying antibacterial hand soap and dishwashing liquid.

In March, I stopped taking the vitamin-mineral powder. Over-the-counter vitamins especially formulated for women my age (hint: the name includes the word “silver”) were less expensive, although the amount of the vitamins and minerals were different. By the end of June, the fatigue had returned with a vengeance. I blamed it on insomnia and my underachieving thyroid. “What I wouldn’t give to be able to sleep straight through the night,” I repeatedly muttered to myself.

Then one day while shopping, the headlines on the front page of a magazine caught my eye: “Dr. Oz’s Thyroid Cure.” I usually don’t allow myself to be lured by headlines at the checkout, but I was exhausted. And desperate. So I bought it. “Tell me something I don’t know,” I mumbled as I opened to page 36 and started reading. He did.

According to Dr. Oz, triclosan, a chemical used as an antibacterial agent in hand soaps and dish detergents, interferes with thyroid function. How many times a day do I wash my hands with antibacterial soap? And wash dishes with an antibacterial dishwashing liquid? And here I thought I was doing the right thing.

Not one to accept only one source, I got online and researched “triclosan” and found plenty of evidence to support Dr. Oz’s claim. What else interferes with thyroid function? I wondered. I googled “sucralose” + “effects”—and read that people have complained about weight gain, insomnia, brain fog and fatigue. As I read labels, I was surprised at how many products contain sucralose. I was getting a lot more of it than from the packets I stirred in my tea and sprinkled over my cereal.

Using calorieless sweeteners and antibacterial soaps seemed the right thing to do for my health and well-being, but, over time, the negative effects began to manifest themselves. I blamed them on everything but the true sources—which I continued to use.

Isn’t that just like sin? It sneaks into your life looking like something good, promising good things. As it wreaks its havoc, we blame everything else but the true source. “It can’t be wrong when it feels so right,” we say, quoting a popular song. Only when we acknowledge sin as sin can we get back on the road of spiritual health again.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Dear God, open my eyes to the sin in my life. Give me the courage to confess it and the strength to banish it. Amen.

Special-Tea: Genesis 3, James 1:19-27

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