Why all the fuss about toxins lately? Because they affect your health. They are pervasive in our environment and although we can’t be completely toxic free, lowering our exposure can have profound effects on our health. So how do we lower the toxins around you? We should start with knowing what they are!
What is a toxin?
It helps to acknowledge that when people talk about toxins, they might be talking about different things. So, let’s start with a quick overview of toxins.
MedlinePlus, part of the US National Library of Medicine, states, “Toxins are substances created by plants and animals that are poisonous to humans. Toxins also include some medicines that are helpful in small doses, but poisonous in large amounts. Most toxins that cause problems in humans come from germs such as bacteria. For example, cholera is caused by a poisonous bacteria. Other toxins that cause problems include metals, such as lead, and certain chemicals in the environment.”
In addition to the toxins/waste/poison created by bacteria, there are also chemical, natural, or man-made toxins like lead, mercury, or arsenic. Also, substances like BPA (bisphenol A) have been highlighted recently. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry offers some more in-depth information about various toxins.
Overconsumption of everyday substances can also create toxic levels, like eating processed foods high in chemicals or using toxic cleaning products.
Effects of toxins—and Why You Should Care
Toxins in the food you eat, the products you use, and your environment can affect your health in ways you might not realize. For example, long-term exposure to low levels of particular irritants, such as industrial chemicals, can contribute to chronic inflammation related to conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and sinusitis.
Even the dust on your furniture or in the air you breathe may contain toxins. Exposure to these toxins may also lead to diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
How to reduce toxins
I know all this talk about the effects of toxins in your home can seem a little scary. The good news is that you can focus on balanced and smart living by reducing potentially harmful chemicals in your household. You will also be working toward improving your health.
Here are some simple ways to reduce toxins:
- Be selective about makeup and body care products
100percentpure.com is a great source for plant-based skin care and makeup options. (I love this makeup!) And for body care products, DoTerra and Pure Haven offer healthy alternatives to typical in-store products.
- Be selective about air fresheners and other sprays and household cleaners
Choosing natural cleaning products can help reduce toxins from floors, surfaces and the air in your home. Freshen your home with essential oils and add them to a natural cleaner as well. I use vinegar, water and essential oils to clean my floors! Seriously, who wants to inhale chemicals?! H20 at Home and Pure Haven offer alternative cleaning solutions
The Environmental Working Group is another resource, where you can look up ingredients found in food and personal care items. Here you can find a handy rating system that allows you to scan over 120,000 items. They also have an app that you can use while shopping in the store. The app rates the items you’re looking at in the store, so it’s easier to make informed decisions about the products you want and need to buy.
- Be selective about what’s in your kitchen
Get rid of plastic and go for non-plastic options. Glass and stainless steel are great alternatives. Another example, use glass or stainless steel straws instead of plastic straws. And instead of wrapping your food in plastic wrap, try Bee’s Wrap—a washable, reusable substitute made from organic cotton muslin that’s been coated with beeswax that I found on Amazon!
- Be smart about the food you eat
There are ways to find out about where your food comes from, so you’ll decrease the likelihood that you’re consuming unwanted chemicals. For example, you can go local and buy produce from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. CSAs are local farms run by local farmers who are passionate about working the land and providing quality fruits and vegetables. Also, consume more whole foods and cut out the over processed foods you find in boxes in stores.
Want to know more about smart eating and avoiding chemicals in food? Read my related post about the benefits of The Elimination Diet and detox-specific programs like the 10-day sugar detox and the 12-day detox.
Well, after reading that list, it can be overwhelming. But just remember, we can’t replace every product in our lives. We would go crazy if we tried. So, eliminate or replace what you can. If you have to have one thing—maybe it is that amazing mascara, for example—that isn’t really “green” or “toxic free,” but it works great and you love it, well then, use it. Then simply lessen potential toxins elsewhere.
It’s worth noting that sometimes certain nontoxic products don’t work as well as you’d like. You might find that you love the way a specific shampoo works, but the nontoxic version doesn’t. Hair care, in particular, can be tricky. If you go “too clean” you might find it just doesn’t work for you. In that case, pick the best next thing. Since we live in an imperfect world, we’re not always going to find the perfect products but we can have fun trying to find good alternatives lowering the toxins we are putting on our bodies.
Toxin Reduction Tuesday
If you’re looking for more helpful information, follow me on Facebook. Every Tuesday, I post some great tips. Plus, you can always give me a call and we can meet in person.