The unfortunate news? We’re all a little bit toxic.
Each one of us has varying levels of toxicity in our bodies. We live in a world surrounded by things in the environment that are “poisonous” and harmful to our health – pollutants in the air, water, and soil; pesticides on our food; some ingredients actually IN our food; chemicals in our personal care products; and certain molecules in our some of our plastics and cookware.
We all know this, but did you know that these kinds of toxins (and their buildup in our bodies) are not only linked to allergies, headaches, and stomach aches, but also much more serious illnesses, like:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- fertility issues
- nervous system disorders
as well as more ubiquitous signs, symptoms, and health concerns (many of which surprised me and I didn’t know until fairly recently!), including:
- early aging
- blood sugar issues
- brain fog
- acne and other skin issues
- hormone imbalances
- weight gain
It’s actually quite shocking how many of the common health complaints seen and experienced today may actually have links to the toxic load in our bodies!
When we absorb toxins from whatever source, they can end up affecting our digestion, metabolism, hormones, and our nervous system! And although we have mechanisms and organs built into our bodies to naturally take care of toxins for us (like I discussed in my previous post), our liver, lungs, and kidneys often become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of toxicity that makes its way into our system today. Once these natural detoxers get overloaded, toxins build up, get backed up, they can get pushed throughout the body; this then leads to things like weight gain, skin eruptions, gut issues, and various other health issues like those mentioned above.
Did you know that one of the body’s natural protective measures for toxin exposure is to store them inside adipose (fat) cells in order to keep them away from our vital organs? Unless we give the body a way to adequately get rid of that toxic waste, our bodies are not willing to let go of those fat cells (2)!
Talk about some stubborn pounds!
So, what can we do about it?
I’ve personally struggled with fully answering this question (and even with feeling I have little control of what toxins are getting into my body) – it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, in my opinion, for most of us to truly limit our exposure to toxins down to zero. However, I am trying to do what I can, and there are numerous things each one of us is able do to decrease the toxic burden we place on our bodies each day. Here are some of my tips to combat your toxic exposure today:
6 Simple Steps You Can Take TODAY to Decrease Your Toxicity
- Switch up your cooking and food storage containers – get rid of any scratched Teflon pans and purchase stainless steel, glass, or ceramic cookware when you can; switch to BPA-free reuseable water bottles and plastics. Also vow to never heat up your plastic containers of leftovers in the microwave again.
- Sweat it out – exercising helps rid your body of toxins! Just another reason to get your sweat on every day!
- Get off the sugar – sugar has been labeled by many in the health community as a toxin in and of itself – it wrecks havoc on our blood sugar and can lead to diabetes, weight gain, and digestive issues.
- Stay clear of the center aisles (and pick your produce right) – processed foods, often found in the middle of the supermarket, usually contain chemical-laden, fake, manufactured ingredients that harm our health. It’s best to limit these “foods” from our diets as much as we can and stick to foods naturally found in nature. I like the adage “if your great grandmother didn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it.”
With regard to pesticide exposure and buying organic produce, if your budget is tight but you still want to reap the most benefits you can by buying some organic fruits and vegetables, try to stick to the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists – I’ve found that printing out this image and keeping it in my purse helps me to remember which items are much better for me to buy organic and which are okay to eat conventionally grown (because of the way they are grown and/or how they metabolize toxins, the items on the Clean 15 generally don’t concentrate too many toxins).
- Go natural, beauty! – opt for more natural beauty and personal care products that don’t contain ingredients like parabans, PEGs, sodium laureth (and lauryl) sulphate, petrolatum, coal-tar dyes, BHA, BHT, DEAs, dibutyl phthalate, perfume, siloxanes, triclosan, etc. These chemicals are suspected or have been shown in studies to either cause cancer, function as endocrine disrupters or reproductive toxins, and/or contain heavy metals (1). Since your skin is your largest organ and can absorb a lot of what you put on it, I’m working on transitioning all of my cosmetic, personal hygiene, and house cleaning products to natural versions of the standard conventional brands.
- Detox safely – a good detox helps support your body’s natural detox and cleansing processes, reduces inflammation, and decreases the toxic load in the body. It does so gradually, so as to decrease a lot of those negative detox feelings (like headaches and fatigue) that arise as toxic waste is being loosened up in the body. By detoxing, we reduce the sugar addiction and work to “crowd out” foods that don’t serve us or enhance our health and well-being. By detoxing and removing toxicity, you can more easily:
+ Have more energy
+ Kicking cravings to the curb
+ Boost focus and productivity
+ Have clearer, younger-looking skin
+ Improve digestion and nutrient assimilation
+ Increase immunity
+ Balance hormones
“ Toxins from food and the environment can make you fat. Toxins may come in the form of medication, bacteria, industrial chemicals, and heavy metals such as mercury. These pollutants can damage or block the signals that control your appetite. You can detoxify your body with the right balance of protein, fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phyto-nutrients found in plant foods.” – Dr Mark Hyman
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1. Colquhoun, James and Laurentine Ten Bosch. Hungry For Change. Harper One. 2012. pg 86-7.
2. Snyder, Kimberly. Beauty Detox Solution. Harlequin. 2011. pg 5-6.