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Every year in America, the EWG – Environmental Working Group – releases a list of the “dirtiest” fruit and vegetables. And by this they mean contaminated with pesticides, rather than being covered in soil (!). 
 
More than 38,000 samples were taken, all of crops grown conventionally across America. Each one was then prepared in the same way as consumers would at home, ie, either by washing or peeling it before being tested. 
 
An incredible 230 different pesticides and pesticide residues were found in the different samples. 70% of the samples tested positive for pesticide contamination, with 98% of the top 6 most contaminated products – see the list below – containing at least one pesticide residue. 
We were reminded of this truism a few days ago as we listened to someone – who had better remain nameless (!) – describing in great detail how they’d recently “put someone right”. We won’t go into details but are sure you’ve listened to similar stories in the past. And, probably, secretly commiserated with the person unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of such unsolicited advice. 
 
However, it didn’t stop there, but was followed by great indignation when their comments weren’t well received. In fact, you could say that they got a dose of their own medicine (!). 
 
And, as an aside, isn’t it ironic that those who are best at handing out advice – in all its different forms – are so bad at taking it?!? 
 
Anyway, before we digress much further, it was a good reminder that life isn’t always about being right. 
Having recently spent a chunk of time loading old blog posts on to the new website (!), we noticed how often the importance of our “internal flora and fauna” was mentioned. So we thought it was about time they featured in a post of their own and here we are. 
 
It’s such an English way of describing something that most people would prefer not to discuss (!) but, before we go any further, let’s quickly explain what it means. 
 
The human body – in common with that of other animals, including insects – also provides a home to a huge number of microorganisms. While this may not initially sound like a good thing, it has many benefits for both sides. 
A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the mixed messages we send out every day without realising it. It’s led to some interesting discussions about how – exactly – do you get all your fruit in a row; particularly when it comes to imagining whatever it is in all its glory in your head. Is it simply a matter of daydreaming about it or is there more to it than that? 
 
Well, as so often is the case, the answer is “yes” and “no”. 
We recently came across a fascinating article from The Economist magazine – it was published in December 1999, so we’re a little behind the times (!) – discussing the one invention that defined the 20th century. The link is below if you’re intrigued and the good news is it’s a short article (!). 
 
 
Much to our surprise it wasn’t one of the usual great discoveries. Radar, powered flight, plastic, nuclear materials, radio or television. Nor the often cited antibiotics. However, that’s heading in the right direction. Instead it was the female contraceptive pill – or as it’s more usually known, the Pill. 
There’s no doubt that we all send out mixed messages at times. Sometimes we’re aware of it. Like those occasions when we find ourselves saying that we’d love to do something – or see someone – while that little voice in our head is shouting “no” very loudly. Those dreaded family visits or other occasions we promise ourselves that we’ll never get roped into again (!). 
 
Thankfully, we’re not going to venture any further into this particular minefield (!) but, instead, talk about the mixed messages we send out every day without realising it. And, if you think this doesn’t apply to you, read on. 
In recent years there’s been a much greater awareness of pollution, particularly of the air we breathe and its impact on our health. It’s even been estimated that over 90% of the world’s population breathe in polluted air. Not only does this affect their day to day lives but also plays a part in a huge number of deaths each year. While those with Heart and Lung problems are more likely to be affected, poor quality air impacts on the body as a whole, particularly the functioning of the major organs. 
 
Interestingly, when air pollution is mentioned, people invariably think about outdoor air pollution. And all the usual culprits. Cars, buses, planes, factories and farming. Rarely is indoor air pollution mentioned, even though this is where most people spend the majority of their time; whether at home or at work. And don’t forget the time spent travelling in the car, bus or train which also counts as being “indoors.” 
We’re often asked by clients about the latest “must have” book / video / online course / fill in the blank. There are thousands of them out there, so we’re sure you know what we mean. 
 
They all tend to follow a similar format and promise to transform your life. And usually with minimal effort on your part. Perhaps by improving your general health or a specific health condition. Or maybe your love life, job or financial position. 
 
With many people being curious and enjoying learning new things, it’s not surprising that so many of them end up on their shelves at home. But, all too often, they fail to live up to the hype. 
 
Why is this? 
It’s been a while since one of those – not as easy to answer as you’d think – questions (!), which the younger members of the family love to ask us. And, with this time of year also marking the start of the Hayfever season, it seemed like the perfect time to write about it. 
 
So what are we talking about this week? Sneezing. Or, if you’d like to get technical, sternutation which comes from the Latin word “sternuo” meaning to “sneeze, splutter or crackle.” 
 
While the sound may be the same, different nationalities have very different ways of describing a sneeze. In the UK and America it’s “achoo”; in France it’s “atchoum”; “Hakashun” in Japan and “Ha-ching” in the Philippines. 
A couple of weeks ago we focussed on one of those well known clichés which most people have never stopped to think about. Living to work versus working to live. 
 
As so often is the case, our observations have inadvertently ruffled a few feathers and led to some rather “interesting” conversations (!). Particularly with those who have always worn their long working hours as a badge of honour and are now seeing them in a rather different – and less positive – light. 
 
So, while we’re on this topic, we’d like to give you a rather different perspective on a related topic. Retirement. 
 
Ready? Then here we go. 
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