Writing about ways to decrease your toxic load is sad in a way. Our fast lifestyles are being lived much at the expense of our health. How, you ask? Once upon a time, vegetables were grown in the backyard with natural compost and lots of love - certainly no sprays or complicated processing stages. Our bodies consumed this simple food, recognising and efficiently digesting it. Similarly, clothing was made from pure, unbleached cotton and natural materials - made merely by hand. Before petroleum, tobacco, and the rise of cities and fast travel, the air was clean and clear.
Today's Toxic ExposureToday we're exposed to a cocktail of chemicals that are playing havoc on our bodies and contributing to disease, allergies and stress. Although we can't always control every chemical that enters our bodies (through food or the environment), we can certainly take steps to decrease our toxic load - the collective exposure of these chemicals to our bodies. It's integral to our wellbeing, to minimise the risk of disease and also for the health of our kids, animals and the environment. It all has a ripple effect. Since 1950, at least 70,000 new chemicals have been manufactured - most not tested for safety or toxicity.
Toxic Load ExplainedToxic Load refers to the stress on our bodies through exposure to various chemicals. Our liver and kidneys are responsible for processing toxins - but an 'overload' of these can cause interference with our most important organs and bodily functions. With no way of 'testing' this 'chemical/toxicity' level within our bodies, we must learn to listen and respond. With diseases, allergies and intolerances continuing to rise around the world, you need to take small, but important steps in order to decrease your toxic load, prevent disease and promote wellness
1. Swap Processed For Fresh FoodIt's no surprise the amount of processing our food goes through before it enters our bodies when eating, drinking, supplementing. Gone are the days where 'food' was a stand-alone ingredient. Now, 'food' requires the opening of a packet/jar/container, and contains a dozen, or more ingredients. Choose fresh when possible! Need a snack - instead of that packet of chips - reach for a banana (organically grown, if you can).
2. Reading Labels WiselyIn order to make wise choices regarding food consumption, you need to know/understand what you're putting in your body. It's even difficult to read a food label with many ingredients labelled under different names. Get wiser - here we're starting you off with the top 10 Toxic Ingredients to Avoid in Packaged Food
3. Shop The Health Aisle FirstIdeally, at the organic supermarket., I've got a few trusty stores that I know don't stock rubbish brands (although please do your due diligence - because there's always things like extra sugar and salt lurking in many products). Your health food aisle/store will tend to have products cooked in healthier oils and made without GMO ingredients. If you're in Melbourne, here's a few stores I love to shop at:
4. Drink Loads Of Clean, Filtered Alkaline WaterSince I bought my Alkaline water filter jug - I've been drinking more water (it does taste delicious and 'clean')- but I could swear I also feel more energised! There's nothing like giving those toxins a good flush with regular, clean, filtered and energised water!
What You're Putting Externally On Your Body
5. Skincare And CosmeticsDitch the chemicals! Probably harder than it looks (because it can be tricky understanding labels) - avoid slathering your face with a toxic cocktail of chemicals! From SLS to Petroleum derivatives to lead - look for purely plant-based skincare, natural skincare ingredients and organic skin care ingredients. Organic skin care ingredients are preferred (or wildly grown) - as these have had the least amount of processing and tampering with their nutritional value. Organic skin care ingredients are not only better for your health, but for the environment too. Less processing and fewer chemicals used to grow products mean fewer chemicals in the atmosphere overall (and it all has a ripple effect on our wildlife and the wider footprint of the earth).
6. Audit Your Personal Care ProductsYou might forget about those 'daily' products that we often don't overthink it. For example, your body washes, toothpaste, shaving cream, nail polish, shampoo etc. Although there seems to be a lot of greenwashing happening in the industry (where products are cheekily marketed as natural or organic when they're not) - you need to do your homework. Have a look if your body wash contains a whole 2% organic skin care ingredients when the rest of the product is made up of harmful SLS or petrochemical derivatives, then this is not something you want to be investing in.
7. Be Mindful Of Your ClothingFabrics contain a cocktail of chemicals! Fast fashion is allowing people to have the latest trends at very affordable (questionable sometimes) prices - but ask yourself to what expense of the environment? More clothing equals more landfill. Not only that, but the cocktail of chemicals that are stored in the fast fashion industry is shocking. Consider slow fashion and locally made clothing with natural fibres and dyes.
Your Wider Environment
8. Audit The Health Of Your HomeWe spend a lot of time at home. I'm probably not alone with this one, who feels like they're forever cleaning it? A few things to be mindful of here:
- What cleaning product you're using. Many cheap, mainstream ones are full of nasty chemicals that aren't good for us, nor the waterways. Consider the more natural brands that use ingredients like plant surfactants and essential oils. I love shopping at Flora and Fauna for all of my eco cleaning goods.
- Home fragrances. Now, I'm candle obsessed. However, if you're serious about wanting to decrease your toxic load - consider what you're breathing in all day! Many home fragrances (sprays, diffusers, plugins) are an unhealthy combination of synthetic fragrances and petrochemicals like paraffin. Consider candles made with 100% soy and pure essential oils, and essential oil diffusers
- Check regularly for allergens and things like mould that can take its toll on your body if not taken care of right away
- Add more oxygen to your home with some (real) plants!