Toxins: Easing The Burden
In a previous article, I touched on the importance of making our homes and bodies sanctuaries - of sorts - that are as free as possible from toxic chemicals. These are more ubiquitous than ever before so a multi-faceted approach is the best way to minimise your exposure.
Change is hard - and can be expensive - so do not feel disheartened if you cannot do everything recommended below in one fell swoop. I actively discourage you from doing so, in fact. The goal is to start somewhere - anywhere. When you get accustomed to each new habit, you will feel confident enough to take your next step.
Eat organic food. Ingested pesticides, antibiotics and/or growth hormones bear no resemblance to anything in nature, leaving your body unable to detoxify and excrete them to an optimal degree. In its infinite wisdom and in a desperate bid to keep us from harm, our bodies store these toxins in our adipose tissues, the cumulative effects of which can rob us of our health and vitality. The same phenomenon occurs in non-organic animals so it is best to trim off all fats (which would have otherwise been a great addition to your diet) from them before consumption. Similarly, there are no safe levels of chemical pesticides so if eating a 100% organic diet is too expensive, consider growing your own produce.
Choose non-toxic toiletries. Start by getting into the habit of reading labels and avoid those ingredients known to be harmful. For more information and resources - including brands with safe ingredients and those to avoid - I have created a free Ease Your Toxic Burden series which you can download here.
Choose non-toxic cleaning products. The market is flooded with brands that make all kinds of claims but as a rule of thumb, shorter ingredient lists with recognisable ingredients are less likely to be detrimental to your health. Mangle & Wringer is a pure, effective and affordable alternative that is available online and in some health food stores.
Avoid storing - and heating - food and drinks in plastic. Plastic leaches endocrine-disrupting chemicals (substances which dysregulate the perfect synchronicity of hormones) into food and drinks. While it is true that this is sometimes impossible to avoid (plastic packaging used for virtually all fresh food, for example), it is worth making a conscious effort to avoid it where possible. Kilner jars are a great alternative for storing everything from dry goods to bone broth. Stainless steel is a great indestructible alternative for lunchboxes, bottles, straws and ice-lolly moulds. Glass and ceramic dishes are largely oven-proof and therefore suitable for reheating food.
Filter your water. Many filters are unable to remove heavy metals, antibiotics and additives (like chlorine and fluoride) from the water supply so it is worth seeking out products specifically designed to tackle the broadest range of toxins whilst keeping the essential components of water as found in nature. It is also worth considering filtering water used in baths and showers. The FreshWater Filter Company has a great range.
Use air-purifying plants indoors. Several house plants are known to filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Aloe vera and spider plants, to name just a few, can also help rid indoor air of harmful chemicals by absorbing them.
Be mindful of hidden toxins in furniture, carpets and DIY materials. Look out for - and avoid - fabric protectors and flame retardants on sofas and mattresses, MDF in furniture and formaldehyde in carpet underlays and VOC-laden paints. These are known to off-gas carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Choose natural materials like wood, removable/washable and untreated sofa covers and low-VOC paint instead.