“If you’re a member of an industrialized nation, then you now have an average of seven hundred chemicals in your body from food water and air.” Kelly Brogan, M.D.
If you have ever experienced things like… unexplained weight gain, fatigue, dullness, low energy, achy joints, digestive disorders, allergies, rashes, anxiety, headaches or any other ailments that we have come to think about as normal occurrences in life, listen up. This post is for you.
Toxins are now considered one of the most pervasive sources of disease and premature aging in our culture. They interfere with the normal workings of the body and diminish it organ by organ, beginning with our gut – now considered THE organ that determines the health of the entire body.
Here are some simple strategies to protect yourself from toxic overload and to support your body in its normal detoxification process:
#1. Purchase organic produce and be sure to wash properly
This may shock you but did you know that food is the number one source of toxins in our bodies? There are literally hundreds of synthetic chemicals approved for use on our produce. Even organic crops are subject to “organic” pesticide treatments.
Whenever possible, buy organic. Not only will you get fewer toxins, but organic products deliver a much higher level of nutrients. Always be sure to wash well and properly. Here’s one way: fill a salad spinner with water and a teaspoon of baking soda – swish, rinse, dry and store. When you cannot go organic, check the EWG website for a list of the “Clean 15” best choices for purchasing non-organic.
#2. Switch to natural and DIY cleaning products
It is estimated that each of us carries a toxic load of about 700 synthetic chemicals in our bodies. Scary! The conventional products we use daily to clean and freshen our homes are loaded with chemicals that we breathe in and absorb through our skin.
Switch out the chemicals for “green” or do-it-yourself cleaning products. My favorites are a mixture of white vinegar in water with lemon, tea tree or frankincense essential oil. I use baking soda as cleanser, and a citrus-based detergent called “Forever New” for my clothes and sheets. Leaves them smelling absolutely heavenly.
#3. Switch to natural skin care and body lotions
Your skin is a major entry point for toxins and absorbs them into your bloodstream within seconds. Go for natural as much as possible. Eliminate products with phthalates, formaldehyde (Note: In 2014 Johnson & Johnson removed formaldehyde from their “No Tears” baby product.), parabens, aluminum (deodorants), parfum and fragrances, triclosan and fluoride (toothpaste), and look for healthy alternatives. The Environmental Working Group has an entire list of approved products.
#4. Treat your lawn with loving care
Every spring I cringe as I walk the neighborhood and notice all the little yellow flags up on lawns that have been treated with chemical herbicides and pesticides. Weeds and “pests” all play a role in the balance of a healthy lawn. Chemical sprays make it more prone to disease and the need for even more chemical sprays.
Stop spraying and gently coax your neighbors to do the same. Chemicals seep into the land, leach into our waterways, harm our wildlife and pets, and get walked into your home. One study found an average of 12 pesticide residues in carpets sampled – just from walking them in. (Side note: it’s estimated that you can reduce toxins in the home by about 60% just by leaving your shoes at the door.)
#5. Avoid genetically modified foods
GMO’s are genetically altered to enable them to withstand the heavy doses of the herbicide Roundup that is being broadcast on farmlands to kill the weeds.
Traces of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, are now being found in oatmeal, granola, crackers, and many of the products manufactured from wheat, corn, and soy. Look for the “NON-GMO” label or “Organic” and switch to whole foods as close to nature as possible.
#6. Reduce and eventually eliminate white foods – sugar and flour
Sugar is believed to be eight times more addictive than cocaine. Most of us consume around 22-24 teaspoons of the stuff a day and the body is simply not designed to handle it all.
Sugar is toxic to the body. It disrupts your hormones, brain function, immune function, digestion, gut health, moods… you name it. Sugar is the root cause of most chronic diseases that plague us today.
#7. Increase your intake of nutrients
The body’s natural detoxification process requires a boatload of nutrients to perform optimally. To increase your detoxing power, increase your intake of foods with higher nutrient levels: green juices, celery juice, salads with a variety of lettuces, raw vegetables, and pastured eggs – yolks are full of nutrients.
Consider some supporting supplements: a high-quality multivitamin, Omega 3 fish oil, vitamin D/K, Magnesium, and possibly a digestive enzyme to help with absorption.
#8. Manage your cell phone use
Your body is a mass of electrical currents, managing the rhythm of your heart, the movement of your blood, the processing of your thoughts – even the rhythm of your sleep. Research has found that cell phones can affect our brain wave activity and result in behavioral changes. They have also been classified as possible carcinogens.
Keep your phone on “Airplane” mode when not in use and pick certain times of the day to check in and conduct your social connections. Not only will this cut down on your EMF exposure, it will also diminish interruptions and stress!
#9. Go gluten-free
Wheat today is not the same as it was years ago. It has been genetically modified, distorted, sprayed, and tweaked in ways we don’t even know and it is now believed that gluten affects all of us negatively. Switch to sourdough (no yeast), natural, organic, sprouted-grain breads, or eliminate altogether.
#10. Add liver cleansing foods daily
Detoxification is a natural process that takes place in the body 24/7. You can support this process by nourishing your number one detoxing organ, your liver, with its favorite foods.
Add the following to your daily food plan: bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, dandelion, cauliflower, cayenne, cilantro, collards, garlic, ginger, kale, lemon, onion, parsley, rosemary, watercress, sea vegetables, pastured eggs, and green/herbal teas.
#11. Increase your water intake
Water is essential in the detox process as it helps flush toxins out of the liver. An old Ayurvedic practice suggests sipping small amounts of hot water at 15-30 minute intervals throughout the day.
Grab a thermos, fill it with filtered hot water, and sip every 30 minutes or so. The warmth of the water makes all those sticky toxins easier to get out! It also helps with digestion, constipation, weight loss, and is calming to the body.
While you sleep your body does its heavy lifting, detoxifying and cleaning up the mess we made during the day. Your brain cells even shrink about 60% while you sleep to leave more room for cleansing fluids to wash over them. Your brain literally gets a bath every night.
Do everything in your power to get a good night’s sleep. Develop a regular schedule. Pay attention to your natural sleep cycle and make bedtime the time you feel most tired. Get off the cell phones and away from the TV and wind down about an hour before bed. Get morning sun. Sleep in a cool room – 65° or lower. Oh, and let your cell phone sleep in another room.
#12. Eliminate chemical hand sanitizers
Hand sanitizers, loaded with alcohol, chemicals, and fragrance dry the skin, prematurely age the skin, kill your beneficial bacteria that help to protect the skin, and can bring rise to “superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotics. Use conventional soap and water to cleanse.
#13. Take time every day to R E L A X.
For most of us every day is a whirlwind of activity… meetings, obligations, community responsibilities, kids, work, more work, and late nights trying to cram everything in that you couldn’t get done during the day.
One of the most crucial things you can do heal and detoxify your body is to give it some downtime: quiet walks, a few minutes of meditation, deep breathing, fresh air, sunset time, quiet time away from technology and social media, detoxing baths, and morning sun.
Stress is real. It impacts the body physiologically – and not in a good way. It’s believed to be the cause of 90% of all doctor visits, and it just happens that stress is one of those nasty things that accelerate aging.
Give your body a well-deserved break daily, so that it can do its work to keep you strong, vital, and alive.
COMING SOON… look for details of my guided 10-day detox, a program based on the science and research of Dr. Mark Hyman, founder of the Center For Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sending love! ♥
What are your favorite detoxing strategies? Share your strategies with us in the comments below.