I talk to my clients about reducing the chemicals they take in,from a variety of ways: air pollution, chemicals (like fungicides, pesticides and herbicides) on our lawns and in our food, chlorine, fluoride and other compounds in our water, even BPA in our cans and lining our receipts. They also lurk in cleaning products and personal care items like deodorant, lotion, shampoo and conditioner, etc. Not to mention flame retardants in our mattresses and on our couches and embedded in our clothes. Our skin is our largest organ, and it soaks up all these toxins, just like our lungs, digestive system and other organs. Then our liver has to work overtime to detoxify all of these chemicals. It’s dizzying, really, and enough to make us throw up our hands in despair, confusion and frustration.
This is why I love the Environmental Working Group and its resources. They take the guesswork out of all things toxic, like having to figure out which makeup is the least contaminated, and which produce to splurge on and which you can purchase conventional. Their annual Clean15/Dirty Dozen List, released this past week, highlights the fruits and veggies that are most and least dirtied up with DDT and other dangerous chemicals. The EWG Food Scores and the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database scores more than 80,000 foods and almost 65,000 cosmetic/personal care/cleaning products to rate the cleanest and greenest and the ones to avoid. They also have guides for Good Food on a Tight Budget, a Good Seafood Guide, A Shopper’s Guide to Avoiding GE Foods and more.
Visit ewg.org to explore and learn more.
Because we’re living on this earth in the 21st century, we can’t avoid toxins and contaminants, unfortunately. That’s why it’s important to detoxify our burdened bodies, at least 1-2 times a year.
Consider these frightening facts:
- There are more than 80,000 chemicals in the US, and about 2,000 are added every year
- Indoor environments are approximately twice as polluted as the outdoors
- Even infants are born with more than 200 toxins in their immature systems
- More than 700 synthetic organic compounds have been identified in US drinking water
- There has been a 42% increase in asthma over the span of just one decade.
The body has three choices when it comes to dealing with these toxins. They can remove them, deposit them in fat cells or stores them in tissues. One piece of recovering from a disease is detoxifying the body. Common signs and symptoms of toxic overload in the body include:
- Bloating and gas
- Bad breath
- Poor digestion
- Weight loss plateau
- Mood swings and irritability
- Brain fog/memory problems
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Sensitivity to odors
- Frequent colds/flu
- Chronic infections
- Skin rashes, acne, hives
As if these issues aren’t bad enough, long-term effects of toxins on the body can run the gamut:
- Fertility problems and birth defects
- Delayed learning and motor skills in children
- Dementia, memory loss and cognitive decline
- Weight loss resistance
- Hormonal disruptions like metabolic syndrome and Type II Diabetes
- Autoimmune conditions and suppressed immune function
- Less than 2 percent of synthetic chemicals have been tested for toxicity, mutagenic or carcinogenic properties, or the connection to birth defects
The body is smart; it stores toxins in fat cells to prevent them from roaming around in the blood, which is why you should consider detoxing as a first step toward weight loss, and to accompany a weight loss program so that your body is not reabsorbing the chemicals and you’re losing weight safely. The liver has a two-step process for removing toxins, which allows fat-soluble toxins to be converted into water-soluble versions so they can be removed from the body in our stool and urine.
NOTE: If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid detoxing.
I’ll be leading a couple of presentations on safe detoxing March 15th at Health First in Schaumburg and March 21st at The Gynecology Institute of Chicago (if you’re local, come on out)!
Sources: Designs for Health, US Dept. of Health & Human Services, Cornell University Pesticide Safety Education Program, US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Environmental Working Group, CDC, enviroalternatives.com