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How Hidden Toxins are Sabotaging Your Health
Our daily lives are filled with hidden toxins that are sabotaging our health and not a lot of people are talking about it. An estimated 80,000 chemicals are used in consumer products. Only 25% of these chemicals are adequately tested for potential health effects! What causes toxins in the body? It mostly comes down to daily exposure. I’m going to illustrate just how many toxins you might encounter in a day, and the importance of toxic load.
What are Toxins?
A toxin is a synthetic chemical or poison known to have harmful effects on the body. It is anything that causes damage to the body. Don’t confuse instant poisons like a snake bite, or accidentally ingesting a large dose of a harmful chemical. The effects of these can be seen almost right away. My focus is the small amounts of synthetic chemicals found in our food, air and water. Since the dawn of the industrial revolution eighty thousand toxic chemicals have been released into the environment and the majority have not been tested for long-term impact on human health. We are all the subjects of a science experiment. Now that some of these chemicals have been around for decades we might be feeling the cumulative health effects of thousands of chemicals combined.
Where are Toxins?
A Day in the Life of Sally
Sally is an everyday typical woman in her early 30’s. She lives in a suburban apartment and has a 9-5 job and a good social life. She starts her day with a shower with shampoo, body wash, lotion, deodorant, makeup etc. For breakfast she grabs a bowl of her favorite cereal and adds some skim milk. After breakfast she dons her coat and heads to work. As she waits for the bus some people walk by while smoking and discussing the latest politics. After a short bus ride she gets to work and heads for her desk to get to work. A morning meeting provides doughnuts to snack on. For lunch she goes out with co-workers and eats a hamburger french fries and bottled water. Sally and her friends rotate weekdays cooking meals at different houses. Tonight is Sally’s night to cook. Once she gets home Suzi doesn’t have time to waste. She gets out the usual cleaning supplies (all-purpose cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner etc, air freshener) etc and cleans the bathroom, and kitchen in record time. She also starts a load of laundry. While she’s waiting for her friends she cooks up a chicken dish using her Teflon coated frying pan. The doorbell rings, she lets in her 3 girlfriends and they all enjoy dinner and girl-talk. Afterwards they watch some TV until it starts to get late. Once everyone leaves Sally brushes her teeth with toothpaste, uses mouthwash and crashes into bed.
Toxins You Might Encounter Daily
Now you might be wondering, whats so toxic about Sally ‘s day? Lets take a look at the mostly invisible toxins that Sally encounters during her day
- Personal care products
- This includes shampoo, body wash, deodorant, toothpaste, makeup and more.
- Ditch Toxic Personal Care Products.
- Toxins in the Shower
- Tap water contains fluoride and chlorine which you breathe in through the steam of the shower.
- The typical shower curtain liner is made with PVC and other harmful chemicals which release toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) into the air.
- The SAD (Standard American Diet)
- Air Pollution
- This includes any number of things some which are out of our control
- Car Exhaust
- Air fresheners used inside the house. An essential oil diffuser is a good alternative
- Bottled water can leach small amounts of plastic which we then ingest.
- Conventional cleaning supplies contain dangerous chemicals.
- Have you noticed the warnings listed on the bottles?
- Non-Stick Pans are Toxic
- Laundry detergent
- You might not think much about your clothes. But the majority of people use toxic laundry detergent.
- The fragrance that makes your clothes smell good actually contains neurotoxins that stick to your clothes and sit next to your skin all day long.
- Our journey to non-toxic laundry detergent
- Food Storage Containers
- Plastic leaches into our food.
- Why I don’t use plastic food storage containers.
What is Toxic Load?
The Sad Story of Bob
Bob is taking a much needed vacation. He takes a row boat out on a peaceful lake. As he is rowing along enjoying the sunshine a small leak occurs and water slowly begins to seep in. It is quite a small leak and he doesn’t notice at first. After a while, he notices a bit of water starting to gather in the bottom of the boat. As he notices the small puddle growing a little bit larger he starts to get worried. Bob finds a bucket and begins to bail the water out. The water is starting to come in much faster now. The leak has gotten bigger and is coming in faster than he can bail it out with his bucket. Now its coming in so fast that Bob can not keep up and he absolutely can not even stop bailing to row to safety. There is nobody in sight. For hours he bails water. He gets extremely tired and can hardly move anymore. Eventually the boat sinks and Bob drowns.
I didn’t make up this story to make you sad. The leak in the boat is a metaphor for how toxins can sneak up on us and impact our health and our life. The water represents the toxins slowly seeping in, while your liver and organs can’t get rid of them fast enough. Eventually they start to overflow and cause symptoms. As Bob starts to notice the leak it might just be some weight gain or a few headaches as he goes about his life. He ignores them and thinks it is just part of getting older. So the water starts getting deeper and his symptoms begin to include chronic pain, and forgetfulness. Eventually his body can’t handle normal functions so he gets very sick with something such as cancer.
What are the Symptoms of Toxic Accumulation
- Seasonal Allergies
- Digestive issues
- Gas / Bloating
- Weak Immune System / getting sick easily
- Brain Fog
- Food Allergies
- Chemical Sensitivities
- Sinus Issues
- Sleep Issues
- Bad Breath
- Menstrual Issues
Over time and with constant overflowing of the bucket things can progress to diseases like
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Depression and other mood disorders
- Autoimmune disease
The Weakest Link
When our bodies are operating optimally they can handle the numerous toxins we encounter and get them out of the body before they cause damage. When they do cause symptoms it they manifest at the weakest link. Exposure to the same toxins can manifest differently for every individual. Someone may get skin problems like eczema, another person will have digestive issues and someone else can have brain issues like brain fog, ADHD, or dementia.
- Some people have a genetic predisposition to certain diseases.
- Some people have an overall higher load of toxins. Perhaps they encounter more toxins in their daily environment.
- Some people might have an already overburdened system. If they can’t detox then they will show symptoms at the weakest link in their body.
How hard is Sally’s body working to detox each of her daily exposures? I’m not trying not to scare you into a panic and make you think that your entire life and everything in is toxic, but to broaden your insights about where you might encounter different toxins, and how easily some of them can be avoided.
Why Some People Don’t get Sick
How come I get sick and my best friend is fine? Why do some people not appear to be affected. The answer is it’s complicated. Each persons body is different. Genetics and gene expressions, toxins exposure, all contribute. One persons bucket may be bigger, they may be blessed with an extremely efficient detox ability and can handle more toxic load.
Another popular metaphor is that everyone has a built in sink (they can be different sizes). Your sink gets clogged and it starts to fill up. Once it fills to the top it overflows and that is when you start to get symptoms. In this case once you know the problem the solution is obvious.
- Turn off the water – stop the toxins from coming in.
- Unclog the sink – help the toxins out of the body.
How to Get Rid of Toxins
Now that you’re thinking about these toxins in your body, the question is how do you get them out? The first step is to quit putting them into your body. There are actually plenty of small things you can start doing right now.
Stop Exposing Yourself to Toxins
- Clean up your diet
- Eat organic from the dirty dozen
- Avoid white flour and white sugar.
- Read How to Uncomplicate Healthy Eating
- Clean up your personal care routine
- Search the EWG Skin Deep database
- Use less toxic cleaning products
- Search the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning database
- Make a goal to use less plastic
- Get a stainless steel or glass water bottle. Our favorite is Klean Kanteen
Help Your Body Naturally Detox
Don’t go and think that you can go buy some expensive detox program and be fine. By detox I mean the science of how our bodies get rid of waste. The body naturally detoxifies itself day after day, 24 hours a day. In fact we have organs such as the kidneys, the lymph system, the liver, the lungs, and the skin that are designed to expel waste from the body in one way or another. There are things we can do to help our bodies natural detox pathways:
- Make sure your elimination pathways are working correctly.
- Do you poop one to two times a day?
- Do you sweat?
- Drink plenty of clean filtered water.
- Increase your intake of produce.
- First of all increase your intake of leafy greens and brassicas such as kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
- Aim for 8-10 servings of vegetables a day.
- Idea – Challenge yourself to eat 2 different vegetables at every meal.
- Move more
- Movement and exercise helps get the detox pathways going
- Manage Stress
- Relax, get some ‘me’ time
BONUS – optional but helpful routines
Take a detox Bath
Once a week for 20 minutes sit in a hot bath that contains a cup of Epsom Salt, 10 drops of lavender essential oil mixed with olive oil and half a cup of baking soda. This will help draw out toxins, and lower stress.
Toxins are unavoidable in this day and age, and while we can’t avoid all of them, we can take steps to drastically reduce our exposure. Toxic Load is an important concept in understanding why there are so many chronic diseases that have only increased drastically in the past decade. Take note that living with allergies, digestive issues, chronic fatigue is NOT normal. Now that you realize what causes toxins in the body are you willing to make a few changes to reduce the toxic load on your body and detox? Every small change can help. What do you say? Will you defy the odds against you and live a long and vibrant life?