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. I’m not talking about a poisonous snake bite or eating one of those laundry tablets that look like candy. These have immediate consequences. What I want to talk about is the small amounts of synthetic chemicals found in our food, air and water.
With the industrial revolution came the introduction of tens of thousands of chemicals. Some of these toxic chemicals exist in our environment today. The majority have not been tested for long-term impact on human health. Nobody had time to do human studies that last a decade or two. In essence that means we are the subjects of a science experiment. Decades later are we 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 late 20’s. She lives in a suburban apartment and has a 9-5 job and a good social life. Sally begins her day with a shower. In the shower she uses shampoo and body wash. After her shower she puts on some lotion, deodorant and makeup. 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. In record time she cleans the bathroom, the kitchen and picks up the living room. She also starts a load of laundry. Her cleaning routine consists of laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner and air freshener. 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. The girlfriends head home. Sally brushes her teeth with toothpaste, uses mouthwash and crashes into bed.
Toxins You Might Encounter Daily
Now you might be wondering, what is so toxic about Sally’s day? Lets take a look at the invisible toxins that Sally encounters during her day.
- Toxins in the Shower
- Tap water contains fluoride and chlorine. The steam from the shower can carry these toxins right into your lungs.
- Shower curtain liners are usually made of harmful chemicals such as PVC. These chemicals release toxic volatile organic compounds or VOC’s into the air.
- Personal care products
- This includes shampoo, body wash, deodorant, toothpaste, makeup and more.
- Learn how to Ditch Toxic Personal Care Products
- 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 fill the air with toxins. An essential oil diffuser is a good alternative.
- This includes any number of things some which are out of our control
- Bottled water
- Bottled water can leach small amounts of plastic which we then ingest.
- Bottled Water VS Tap Water
- Cleaning Supplies
- Conventional cleaners contain dangerous chemicals.
- Have you noticed the warnings listed on the bottles?
- Non-Stick Pans
- The majority of non-stick pans are coated with Teflon which is toxic.
- Find a non-toxic pan
- Laundry detergent
- You might not think much about your clothes. But the most people use toxic laundry detergent.
- Fragrance can be a concern. Fragrance contains neurotoxins which stick to your clothes. These toxins then sit next to your skin, your largest organ 24/7.
- You can read about our journey to non-toxic laundry detergent here.
- Food Storage Containers
- Plastic leaches into our food causing us to ingest hormone disrupting chemcials.
- This includes food packaging from the store/restaurants as well as what you use at home.
- 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 water sneaks in through a tiny hole. It is quite a small leak and he doesn’t notice at first. After a while, he sees a bit of water gathering in the bottom of the boat. After inspecting the puddle Bob becomes concerned as the puddle expands. 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 catch up enough to stop bailing and row to safety. There is nobody in sight. For hours he bails water. He gets tired and can hardly move anymore. A few minutes later the boat sinks and Bob drowns.
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
- 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 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? The goal is not to scare you into a panic. Don’t think that your entire life and EVERYTHING in is is toxic. Instead, broaden your insights about where you might encounter different toxins. Avoiding toxins in some cases is quite simple. Find a different product, or change a daily habit.
Why Some People Don’t get Sick
Why do 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. Some people have the ability to detox more efficiently than others.
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 plenty of small things you can start doing right now.
Stop Exposing Yourself to Toxins
- Clean up your diet
- 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 reusable stainless steel or glass water bottle. Our favorite is Klean Kanteen.
Help Your Body Naturally Detox
- 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.
- Eat more leafy greens and brassicas (Kale, Cauliflower and Brussels sprouts)
- Aim for 8-10 servings of vegetables a day.
- Idea – Challenge yourself to eat at least 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
Today toxins are unavoidable. While we can’t avoid every toxins, we can take steps to reduce our exposure. Toxic load is an important concept in understanding the increase in chronic diseases. In the past decade diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer, ADHD have increased drastically.
Living with disease, 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? Every small change can help. What do you say? Will you defy the odds against you and live a long and vibrant life?