Take a look around you and ask yourself if what you are seeing is real. I'm not talking about dreams, philosophy or fantasy, but what is actually sitting around you. The furniture, the floors, the appliances, the trees, the air, the plants and soil. Is it real? Is it natural? Is it safe? I’m not saying everything artificial is bad for you. I just think it is important to assess our environment. Otherwise, how can we begin to make small steps toward improvement?
The goal of this article is to begin the process of uncovering how artificial things affect us. Which ones are hazardous? Which ones can we control? How can we make changes toward improvement? Stay tuned for 10 tips on how to decrease your toxic load.
Take a look outside. Is it real? The soil contains residues of pesticides, fertilizers, plastics, trash, and other toxins. The sky is no longer a crisp, clear blue. Instead, even on a clear day, the sky is still hazy. The air is polluted with insecticides, ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, VOCs, and other hazardous toxins. The patio furniture, toys, and tools are all made of plastic. The green plants, grasses and trees have been showered with chemicals to keep bugs and diseases away. The cars on the streets contain styrene and formaldehyde -it covers the upholstery, carpeting, plastics and paint in the cars. The water has chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, and residues of prescription drugs. But surely, it is still safe to be outside?
What about in the house? The furniture, dishes, floors, windows, walls, and even our clothing is all covered with chemicals - disinfectants, bleach, aerosols, air fresheners, window cleaners, carpet cleaners, dry-cleaning fluids, detergents. The mattresses and infant's clothing are sprayed with flame-retardants which off-gas formaldehyde and a brominated substance known to be a carcinogen. The food people eat isn't even real. It is processed and genetically modified with chemicals added to enhance its taste, color and shelf life. The Saran wrap that covers the leftovers contains vinyl chloride, a carcinogen known to cause liver, brain, and lung cancers. The lotions, perfumes, shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, antibacterial soaps all contain synthetic chemicals that disrupt the hormone balance in the body and decrease mental acuity. Did you ever notice that the toothpaste tube says "Do not swallow: If swallowed, contact poison control?" But we put this in our mouth! Is any of this real?
What was once real is slowly being taken away and instead something fake is put in its place. Actually, not only are our surroundings not even real, they can be dangerous!
Toxicity is a very real and very important issue. That being said - if you make a few changes in your lifestyle you may be dramatically helping your health and the environment that you and your family enjoy!
So what are a few ways I can help decrease my day-to-day toxic load? Here is my advice:
1. Read the Ingredients - Whether you are buying a household cleaner, food item, medication, or personal care item, be sure to look at what's in it. As far as ingredients go, a general rule is if you can't pronounce it, it isn't good for you. Try to buy things with fewer, simpler, and more natural ingredients. For example, instead of choosing the Vitamin Water (which contains artificial colors, fake vitamins, and other chemicals) choose the Zico (natural coconut water - no other ingredients). Also make your own household cleaners instead of buying them. For example, a little vinegar, water and lemon will clean just about anything!
2. Make it Yourself - I recommend making things from scratch. This way, you know exactly what's in the food. Getting the dried beans instead of the canned ones is definitely healthier and probably cheaper. The canned beans are exposed to aluminum, and likely have preservatives, salt, sugar, and other odd things you wouldn't expect to be added to a can of plain beans. Same goes for vegetables and grains. If you can buy the vegetable fresh and make it yourself, it definitely beats those pre-packaged foods! Of course buying local and organic is best, but even if that is not an option, don't fret - just do your best. Making food yourself usually just requires a little more planning, but is not difficult at all.
3. Filter Your Water - With all the unknowns in our tap supply, taking a shower could actually be more of a toxic steam chamber where you are breathing in all these chemicals. Go to home depot and pick up a $20 shower filter and screw it onto your shower. You could opt for fancier solutions such as a house filtering system or Vita shower, but at least try to use a shower filter. Baby steps - you can do it! Next is the water you drink. Try to drink from glass instead of plastic and don't drink that tap! I recommend steam distilling and filtering your water and adding organic sea minerals back to the water to balance the pH. However a second best would be using a tap filter such as the Brita filter. This is better than no fix at all.
4. The Plastic Problem – Plastics can leach phthalates into whatever touches them. The phthalates have been found to decrease fertility (yes, it kills sperm cells). This compounds when whatever you buy that is surrounded in plastic was shipped in a truck that sat in the heat. Plastic is everywhere and hard to avoid. Try to make better choices about it. For example, plastics numbered 1, 2, 4, and 5 are better and stronger than the plastics numbered 3, 6, and 7 (numbers located on bottom of plastic container in the triangle). The lower grade plastics leach more phthalates than the stronger plastics.
5. Forget the Microwave - I know they are convenient, but they are just not worth the health hazards! Continual use causes long-term permanent brain damage by shorting-out electrical impulses in the brain. It kills all the nutrients and makes the food unrecognizable by the body. Try heating your food in a toaster oven for a quick re-heat.
6. Just Say NO to Teflon Pans - If you had a little bird near the Teflon non-stick pan on the burner while you heat your food, the off gassing will kill the little bird. So bottom line is it isn't healthy for you either. Make sure to use all metal pans or find all natural non-stick pans without Teflon.
7. Drink Veggie Juice - Get a decent juicer and drink 3 glasses of fresh veggie juice per day. This will help detoxify you and strengthen your immune system. It will help build your cells healthier and stronger than ever before. It gives you health, energy and vitality.
8. Dry Sauna - Sweating is great for detoxing. Toxins are able to flee the body through the skin with sweating. Dry saunas or sweating while exercising are a great way to accomplish this. Infrared saunas are best. However, if the sauna is heated with a gas flame, it may off-gas bad fumes so be careful.
9. Buy Organic - Check out this chart to help you decide which produce should always be bought organic and what you can get away with buying conventionally. The dirty dozen contain the most amounts of pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals. They are often picked when unripe and gassed to ripeness. Be sure to buy these organic. The clean 15 have much lower chemical levels and can be bought conventionally grown.
Dirty Dozen: Celery, Peaches, Strawberries, Apples, Blueberries, Nectarines, Bell Peppers, Spinach, Cherries, Kale/Collard Greens, Potatoes, Grapes
Clean 15: Onions, Avocado, Sweet Corn, Pineapple, Mangos, Sweet Peas, Asparagus, Kiwi, Cabbage, Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Grapefruit, Sweet Potato, Honeydew Melon
10. Personal Care Products - Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs whatever we put on it. General rule: if you can't eat it, don't put it on your skin. Coconut oil is a miracle. Eat it, use it as lotion, and use it for cooking and baking. Love it! It is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, lowers blood pressure, is a great source of good fats, helps dry skin, and increases mental acuity. Replace your lotions and potions with coconut oil and substitute your other personal care products for more natural ones. For example - get a natural salt stick to use for deodorant instead of the conventional product.
Hope these few tips can help you make better choices to decrease your toxic load! Let's work together to help save our families and planet from disease. Please send me an email with any success stories (firstname.lastname@example.org).