Reducing Your Toxic Load
We live in a very toxic world that is resulting in the population becoming more and more sick. Sometimes so gradually that it just becomes the new normal. Other times more obvious, think Cancer, gut conditions, disrupted hormones (even infertility) and obesity to name a few.
At every turn we are exposed to more and more toxins. The water we drink is packed full of chemicals. The food we eat is laced with herbicides and pesticides, additives and preservatives, and wrapped or stored in plastics.
We use a long list of chemicals in our home to make things clean but the poison doesn’t just disappear after you’ve wiped that bench down.
Our skin is our largest organ. We absorb whatever is placed on it only moments after the fact. Our make-up, sunscreen and skin care products are made up of a range of not so pleasant chemicals, some known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors – but somehow the industry gets away with it.
We live in cities where pollution is off the charts, work in factories where we are exposed to harmful chemicals on the daily.
Our homes are painted with paints that omit VOC’s (Volatile organic compounds). Our furniture is finished with toxic sprays and vanishes. Our flooring omits toxic VOC’s.
Our babies nappies, nappy creams and formulas all contain toxins that we were not designed to be exposed to.
What are endocrine disruptors?
These are chemicals that include a wide range of substances that may interfere with the body’s endocrine (hormone and cell signalling) system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects. Endocrine disruptors usually mimic estrogen and are found in many everyday products we use, including: plastic bottles and containers; food can liners; detergents; flame retardants; toys; cosmetics; and pesticides.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
There’s so many simple and affordable tweaks that you can make to reduce your family’s toxic load today! I’ll go over some below, share some resources and we can discuss anything else in the Facebook group.
It’s a great idea to get a wishlist happening to stick on your fridge for you to identify anything that you’d like to replace or work on in your home so you can keep your eye on the prize.
What’s in your water? These days, knowing where your water comes from is of the utmost importance. Your body is between 70 – 90% water and the water you drink is critical to hydrating your body at the cellular level.
Unfortunately, modern tap water can be filled with toxins. In fact, the Environmental Working Group found over 140 common contaminants in tap water. This included pharmaceuticals and over the counter drugs such as antibiotics, anti-depressants, birth control pills, seizure medication, cancer treatments, pain killers, tranquilizers and cholesterol-lowering compounds.
To reduce your exposure to water transported toxins, you might consider getting a whole house water filter or separate sink, shower and bath filters to reduce your exposure to these major toxins.
Our drinking water:
The chemicals found in tap water chemicals wreak havoc on our hormones, destroy our gut and reduce the quality of our lives. You can find a range of drinking water filters here. I personally have the Zazen bench top filter. It filters just about everything out and then replaces the minerals that you would have got when drinking water in less toxic times. You can find under sink filters here as well.
This includes what we bathe or shower in, wash our hands in etc.
There are a few options to filter this water depending on your priorities and budget – it can get very expensive. You could put a filter on your plumbing system so that all water that enters your home is filtered. Or you can choose to add a filter to your bath or shower.
Some of our kids are extra sensitive and need a little more protection when swimming in public pools. Of course it would be amazing if we could all have a magnesium pool but it’s not for everyone.
Wellness Mama also has a great recipe here and some great info for creating a barrier to protect your kids from Chlorine and other chemicals before going swimming. I have just used Shea butter in the past and it has worked well.
The idea here though is not to be overwhelmed. Create a wishlist and slowly work your way through the gradual changes. Every tiny change stacks up so take it easy on yourself.
Eating organic or spray-free is best but is not always and option due to $$$$. The Environment working group conducts and independent study each year regarding which foods are being sprayed the most with harmful herbicides and pesticides. Try to stick to buying the dirty dozen fruit and veg organic or spray free and you can be a little more relaxed with the clean 15. See the links below.
You can read my blog here about how to eat organic on a budget. I will also do a masterclass on this and give you some insider tips to make eating organic much more affordable.
Eating as many wholefoods, as close to their natural state is also key to reducing your toxic load. Avoid fake foods, additives, preservatives and flavours. You can read more about this on the Wholefoods Page.
Skincare, hair, BABY & Make-up
The beauty products that are damaging your health – the products we use to look our best may actually be the biggest source of aging and other adverse symptoms.
Beauty products like toothpaste, lotion, nappy rash creams, youth creams, soap, shampoo, conditioner, perfumes and makeup are full of toxic chemicals.
To reduce your exposure to toxins in beauty and personal care products: Read ingredient labels on your personal care products. Anything you put on your skin is absorbed into your body. Some important ingredients to avoid in your beauty and personal care products are: sodium laurel sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, triclosan (found in antibacterial products), Parabens (Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, p-Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, n-Butylparaben and Benzylparaben), mineral oil, petroleum, Diethanolamine DEA, Cocamide DEA, Lauramide DEA, alpha and beta hydroxy acids, talc, lanolin and phthalates.
There are many DIY recipes for skin/hair care like moisturizers, face masks, hair treatments and lip balms etc. Pinterest is great for this. But if you don’t have time for that, there’s also a range of online stores where you can find safe products where all the hard work and research has been done for you.
Remember replacing as you can afford or as things run out is fine unless you are ill or just really want to make the natural switch ASAP which is wonderful.
There’s plenty more as well so please reach out with any questions in the group. I also have some tips for getting more affordable products – I’ll share this in the budgeting masterclass.
Stores that I recommend for all of the above include:
Many of the products we are using on our bubs bums contain products derived from petroleum. Even the good old Lucus paw paw ointment and sudocream is guilty in this scenario.
“A lot of common brands of disposable nappies are:
- Bleached with chlorine (which can leave small amounts of carcinogenic Dioxin residues).
- Contain synthetic fragrances, odour blockers and lotions on the inner layer. (Endocrine disrupting phthalates are often hidden in synthetic fragrances and used as preservatives as well)
- Can have formaldehyde containing glues holding them together.
- Use unsustainable forestry to make the wood pulp and packaging.
- Not biodegradable and have a horrible impact on land fill.”
The kitchen is a place where you can make lots of little tweaks that will add up to big results. Some will save you money and others you may have to budget for and add products to your wish list. I’ll share a list of product suggestions over in the group in the near future.
What are you cooking on?
So you’ve decided to eat clean and buy clean, organic food, but it’s just as important to choose green, non-toxic cookware to ensure that you’re keeping your family’s food safe. This is most important when it comes to nonstick cookware, which is generally made using poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These substances release perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a carcinogenic chemical when heated. In addition, many of them contain dangerous heavy metals that can flake off into your food during cooking. When you’re buying pots and pans, whenever possible, choose items made from safe, non-toxic materials like carbon steel, ceramic, lava rock, porcelain enamel, or tempered glass.
Opt for silicone coated spatulas or wooden spoons instead of plastic. Ditch the plastic chopping boards and choose wooden ones.
Choose glass over plastic appliances – your kettle for example.
More tips on plastics:
- Minimize use of plastic containers with the #7 or #3 on the bottom (in fact be rid of all plastics if you can) I only use plastic containers as a back up once i’ve used all my glass.
- Don’t microwave plastic food containers, and don’t wash them in the dishwasher or with harsh detergents. Throw them out if they start to look worn or scratched.
- Reduce use of canned foods and eat mostly fresh foods.
- When possible opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel cups, containers, water bottles and travel mugs.
- Use baby bottles that are BPA free (or better yet use glass bottles) and look for toys labelled BPA free.
Whether inside your home or outside your home, the environment can be major source of toxins. Pollution from manufacturing, cars and second hand cigarette smoke can be challenging to avoid. However, you can avoid a lot of the toxins inside and around your home.
Too many people use harsh household cleaners containing bleach, ammonia and other toxic chemicals that can cause health problems ranging from nausea to skin destruction, fluid in the lungs and wheezing. To reduce your exposure to environmental toxins try to avoid being around people smoking in public places, switch your cleaning products to those with all-natural ingredients, choose “green” or “organic” chemical free home products, like fabrics for furniture and clothing, (which often have flame retardant chemicals on them); and avoid paint that has VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
What about mould exposure?
Mould is a type of fungus that grows in filaments and reproduces by forming mould spores that often cannot be seen by the naked human eye. Mould can grow and thrive in any season, indoors or outdoors, in damp, warm and humid environments, and it spreads like wild fire. When the spores land on a moist surface, the mould can then start to grow. Black mould is most likely to rear its ugly head in areas of the home that are warm, humid and damp. Showers, basements and crawlspaces that may have leaks, or some other sources of moisture, are commonly susceptible to the growth of toxic black mould. There are several common black mould symptoms. Some of these symptoms of mould exposure include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Eye irritation
- Irritation to the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and throat
- Chronic coughing
If you already see or smell black mould, remove it immediately and thoroughly, undergo a natural detoxification protocol with your natural practitioner and remove the sources of growth for the future.
Plants that clean your AIR:
NASA’s Clean Air Study found that there are a number of air purifying plants that can detoxify your home from the airborne toxins, dusts and germs that can be found in a variety of household products, materials and furniture. To give your home a healthy breath of fresh air, here’s our list of the best air purifying plants.
- BARBERTON DAISY
BROAD LADY PALM
- FICUS PLANTS
Cleaning up your cleaning products for less toxic ones will not only save your health but can also save you some money. Think white vinegar, bicarb soda, tea tree oil and fresh lemon just for a start. These are some of the core ingredients to make up your new cleaning arsenal.
The top few nasties that we are trying to avoid when it comes to cleaning products are Pthalates (Diethyl pthalate) – both hormone and skeletal disrution, Triclosan – Petroleum derived – irritant and immune disrupting and can accumulate, Quarternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats) ususally found in fabric softeners – asthma, eczema etc.
Some great blogs for DIY cleaning products: