For many people, we see so much healing and improvement in our health happen when we start changing the food we eat, addressing our digestive concerns and getting the nutrients we need.
I also believe that to have true health there has to be a balance in so much more than food, and as I work with more and more clients, I am finding that to be true. We aren’t fatigued and feeling terrible just because of the food we eat. Yes, it plays a big factor, and it’s always where we start (eating nutrient dense food, supporting digestion, and correcting deficient essential micronutrients).
Once we have cleaned up our diet and figured out what foods and micronutrients work best for us as bio-individuals, there is so much more that we need to address to truly feel our best and to live a healthier life.
One of the big topics that I continue to educate on is addressing and reducing your exposure to toxins and living naturally. Live Naturally is Focus Area 3 to building a balanced, healthy life, but so many people are still unaware of how much truly toxic stuff we are being exposed to every day. Toxins are a serious issue for all of us and especially those with autoimmunity and other chronic illnesses. (Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free copy of my ebook, Balanced Healthy Living – 12 Facets to a Healthier Life)
Toxins may come in the form of medication, bacteria, industrial chemicals, and heavy metals, such as mercury. These pollutants can damage or block the signals that control your appetite. You can detoxify your body with the right balance of protein, fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients found in the plant foods. – Dr. Mark Hyman
What is a “Toxin”?
A toxin is a poison–any substance that’s dangerous to the human body. That includes things you know are a problem such as heavy metals like lead, mercury, and cadmium; industrial chemicals and pollutants, and pesticides.
You may think you are living a “clean and natural” lifestyle, but you are still exposed to thousands of toxins every day, even if you don’t live in a polluted area or work in an industrial job. Toxins are found in the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat. They are also in cosmetics, cleaning products, plastic containers, building materials and cookware, and about a million other places you are in or things you use every day. The scary part is that our government has approved them and said they are safe!
The last data available estimates that about 80,000 chemicals are registered for use in the US, and every year about 1,700 more are quickly approved in less than a month with little to no testing. Our government leaves it up to the company itself to do the testing and tell us it’s safe. If a product is made up of five ingredients they test each one separately for safety–not all five together; and guess what? These chemicals do end up inside your body, and what you put on your body or expose your body to is as important as what you put in it!
It may seem like just a little exposure here–to pesticides when you eat conventionally grown produce–or a little exposure there–to mercury in your dental fillings. However, each exposure adds to your body’s toxic burden. Body burden refers to the total amount of toxic chemicals (or a single chemical) in your body at a given time. These could be, for example, arsenic, lead, mercury, or PCBs, just to name just a few.
A heavy toxic burden puts you at greater risk of developing autoimmune diseases. These toxins damage your cells, then your immune system no longer recognizes these damaged cells as part of your body, and that is when the attacks start. The constant assault of chronic exposure puts the immune system on high alert, so it begins attacking everything – including your own tissues. We will always be exposed to toxins in our environment, but you can lighten your toxic burden and help get your immune system back on track.
So what can you do?
The best thing you can do to lighten your toxic burden is to prevent the toxins from getting into your system in the first place. You may not have control over everything, but you do have control over your own home. If your home is toxin-free, you will have a little bit more leeway when you go out into the environment. Don’t get overwhelmed with it, but make a commitment to start replacing things as you can. It helps to have a plan of how you and your family will accomplish this, and the easiest way is to choose better products to replace things that are running out.
Every replacement you make takes away from your toxic burden, so focus on keeping your home environment as clean as possible. Here are a few of the quickest ways to reduce toxins in your home.
- Eat only organic food and use non-toxic cookware – no more non-stick Teflon pans. It’s also best to toss out the aluminum cookware and aluminum foil and switch to stainless steel, or go to one of my favorites, cast-iron.
- Throw out the air fresheners, and replace them with an essential oil diffuser that will make your house smell good and will give you therapeutic benefits as well.
- Store dry foods or leftover food in glass mason jars or storage containers.
- You can switch your cleaning products to safer, natural cleaners.
- You can choose less toxic personal care products. This can be tricky since not all the ingredients are listed. Before you decide to buy a product, first look at the ingredients that are listed and verify the products with the Environmental Working Group’s online safety profiles for cosmetics and personal care products. They rate products based on the ingredients and have three scoring ranges, the lower the score, the safer the product.
The recommendations above are a good starting place but there is so much more to know about toxic burden, such as heavy metal exposure and toxic mold, but that is a whole different article for the future!
How do you get them out once they are there?
Doing everything you can to avoid toxins is vital, because once you have them in your body, you need to get them out. Your body is constantly working to excrete toxins on its own, but those of us with autoimmune diseases often have a harder time detoxing than others. A vital part of my Nutritional Balancing Program is supporting your body’s own natural detoxification. This is where Focus Area number 4, Detoxification, comes in.
Many toxins are buried deeply within body organs. Nutritional Balancing slowly brings up the layers to be uncovered over a period of several years. The liver is the main detoxifying organ, supporting your liver during this process is critical. It’s important to eat nutrients that will help your liver mobilize the toxins that are in your tissues, along with supplementation, to help your body excrete toxins. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. However, when these organs are compromised, impurities are not properly filtered, and every cell in the body is adversely affected.
One simple way to help your body detox is to drink lots of water and do something that will make you sweat. One of my favorite methods is to use a near infrared sauna. Near infrared saunas help your body release a number of toxins, including heavy metals like mercury and lead, and environmental chemicals, but the benefits don’t stop there. Sauna therapy also relaxes the autonomic nervous system, assists cardiovascular health, improves circulation and oxygenation, helps restore the skin, supports the kidneys and liver and so much more.
Some other detox methods include simple things like dry brushing to help the toxin elimination channels of the skin or taking Epsom salt baths to facilitate your body’s natural detoxification system. Something else that is really simple and even might sound silly is rubbing your feet. Foot reflexology can help with whole body health and detoxification. Another important thing we will talk about in the future is coffee enemas. Yep, I just said coffee enemas!
I don’t want to overwhelm you with a bunch of things you have to do; the point is just get started. So let’s start with the really easy stuff that you can do today. What can you think of right now as you are reading this that you know you should replace? If you are thinking “I really don’t know” then it’s time to for us to talk. Choose to take some kind of action today to lessen your toxic burden and as you do, you will have that desire to take it even further.
Schedule a complimentary call and let me help you identify toxins in your life that you have control over changing. Let’s lighten your body burden so you can live naturally.