We are exposed to an unbelievable amount of chemicals throughout the day. Researchers say on average we’re exposed to 700,000-2 million on a daily basis. With that many chemicals, it seems side effects could be just about anything: common symptoms of toxicity inlcude fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, sinus congestion, postnasal drip, excessive sinus problems, headaches, bloating, digestive problems, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, food cravings, skin problems, acne, menstrual disorders, dark circles under eyes..you’ll have it all!
Toxic chemicals are everywhere. Quite honestly, they’re challenging to avoid in full, but we can do our best to avoid what we know there are chemical-free alternatives to. When I started to focus on trying to avoid this overload of hazardous and foreign substances to my body, I listed what I wanted to find in these products:
- and cruelty-free.
This list seemed daunting..but after a little research I found that many companies are starting to cater to exactly these things! The process truly isn’t so daunting. I do the research, find a product I trust, and make the switch, continuing to buy that product whenever a refill is needed. Truly, once you find a shampoo or air freshener or cleaning product you like, there’s no need to switch!
It’s a one-and-done. And it could be the difference between your health and forever struggling with your health. It’s worth it! Take a read below at the 8 steps you can take when first starting to migrate to a toxin-free life.
Topicals and Skincare
MEN this includes you, too! It’s not just what you put into your body. Anything you put on your skin is absorbed and, depending on the molecule size, could be absorbed directly into your bloodstream. Yeah..scary! Start reading the ingredients of everything you use on yourself- is there a chemical you don’t recognize? Look it up! It could be hazardous to your health. We apply around 200 chemicals to our skin everyday. We have to begin learning what to avoid!
I recommend: Go organic and read the ingredients list! Words like “natural”, “organic”, and “healthy” can be pasted on the front of a product by anyone. Don’t trust their word for it without a little research first! EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is a great website to check how hazardous different products or ingredients are. Deodorants and hand soaps are good ones to start with- we use them every day, multiple times a day, and they tend to be loaded with chemcials!
Stress can be one of the most harmful toxins to us! Every time we stress, cortisol and adrenaline are released into our blood stream. These hormones are beneficial to us in times of stress, but when we are stressed for elongated periods of time, they can have serious negative effects. Excessively high levels of adrenaline due to stress can cause heart damage, insomnia, and a jittery, nervous feeling (often referred to as anxiety). Excessively high levels of cortisol can lead to suppressed immunity, hypertension, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, craving carbs, weight gain, and more. It’s been found 10-25% of toxic build-up can be produced by stress!
I recommend: Stress has been a huge factor in my own health. I’ve made a number of changes in order to keep my stress levels at bay.
- I recently started acupuncture, which is great for detoxing, relieving anxiety, relieving stress, calming, lowering inflammation, and many many more benefits!
- I do yoga 4-5 times a week, which helps me exercise mindfulness, calming breathing techniques, and movement that releases tension in my body. A lot of it is learning about yourself and practicing healthy ways to react to negative or stressful situations. This is seriously one of the easiest changes you can make with so many lasting benefits!
- Stress-management and time-management. Scheduling in time to make sure I get what I need done during the week and still have time for the people I love and what makes me happy is one of the best ways to stop stressing about to-do’s at all times. Only worry about them when you’ve scheduled it into the calendar!
- I love alternative therapies, like music therapy and aromatherapy to reduce stress and worry. I’ll probably be going into these more in another blog post!
- Changing what you don’t like about your life! This is such an obvious one, but many people don’t even consider it. Does someone in your life stress you out? See them less often. Do you dread going into work or seeing your coworkers? You can make a change there, too. You have the freedom to make big changes in your life. Don’t let fear stop you from escaping the stresses of feeling trapped.
Avoid Chemical Cleaners
Soo I cleaned the bathroom the other day.. with a general “multi-purpose cleaner”. And I was hacking by the end of it. I literally sounded like I had whooping cough, and my throat was stinging. THAT is a sign from our body telling us this is dangerous and it doesn’t want you near it, let alone breathing it!
I’ll admit, this is something I haven’t looked into enough, but after reading about it I’m definitely investing in some natural cleaning products! Floor cleaner is said to react with ozone in the atmosphere at our level and produce formaldehyde in the air..that we then breathe in.
Formaldehyde is naturally produced in our bodies at very small amounts and is not dangerous in this amount. However, when we are exposed to higher doses either in the air or on the skin, it could cause cancer of the throat, nose, and blood. Higher exposure, like that of nail salon workers, could lead to asthma, convulsions, nausea, and miscarriages. Some countries have even banned it’s use in personal care products completely.
Air inside buildings is said to be up to fives times more polluted than outside, because of cleaning products!
I recommend: Finding natural, non-toxic cleaning products. There are so many of these brands now, and I am definitely going to do my research in finding one I like and trust! Keeping your house ventilated is also important. You can get an air purifier or just open the windows enough to let fresh air in.
Avoid Polluted Areas Outside
If you’re walking, biking, or performing any kind of aerobic activity outside, try to avoid areas where the air is polluted by cars, factories, etc. Performing physical activity increases our breathing and absorption of what we breath in..don’t let that be toxins!
I recommend: Find parks and natural areas with a breeze or lots of trees to make sure your air quality is higher than main street downtown. If you must exercise in a city, avoid rush hours and busy times when more pollutants are being released.
Chemical-Free Air Fresheners
Many air fresheners use chemical fragrances or they have “nerve-deadening” agents that stop you from noticing smells..that sounds healthy. These are also a bad idea to have near where you sleep, as the chemicals can interrupt the quality of your sleep!
I recommend: avoid buying and using air fresheners or fragrances with chemicals in them, or products with the word “fragrance” listed in the ingredients. Instead, use essential oils (safely) and open your window for some fresh air circulation. My mom likes to heat up a small crockpot with cinnamon sticks and orange wedges in water. She’ll leave it warming for a couple hours- it fills the house with the most comforting smell!
Stop the Plastic Madness
So much is packaged in plastic! It’s hard to buy anything without it. But there are some decisions you can make to regularly reduce your use of plastic and the harmful chemicals emitted from it. Studies have found 25,000 chemicals are found in water from plastic bottles. Guess what? Phthalates are used in plastic, too. These and other toxins can leak into our water before we drink it!
Dibutyl phthalate. Phthalates mimic the hormone estrogen in your body, and are proven to impair the hormonal development of male fetuses, cause organ damage, and may even instigate early-onset menopause. Animal studies show decreased fertility, hormonal disruption, bioaccumulation, and liver damage. The European Union has banned DBP in cosmetic and personal care products..America has not.
I recommend: Don’t buy water in bottles! Unless you’re going on a trip or somewhere where you can’t buy safe water, water bottles are just as, if not more, hazardous to our health as tap water. The plastic bottles and the water is treated with strong chemicals and the plastic can seep these chemicals into the water even more when the bottle heats up or sits around awhile. Researchers have found bottled water is subject to far less stringent safety tests than tap water and is much more likely to be contaminated or a source of infection.
Use a water filter on your faucet at home to make sure you’re getting safe, chemical-free water. Then fill up a glass or stainless steel water bottle to carry with you throughout the day!
Support Your Detox Glands
Your liver and kidneys are the two glands you can thank for processing and ridding your body of all the chemicals and toxins you still take in. Give them a little love by supporting them with the foods that boost, stimulate, and protect them!
I recommend: Eat plenty of garlic, grapefruit, artichoke, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, limes, lemons, and turmeric. That’s a lot of good options, so let’s get to it. Sounds like some Mediterranean or Indian food could do the trick!
The easiest way to rid yourself of toxins is water and fiber! Soluble fibers like fruits, vegetables, and grains bind to toxins and remove them from our bodies rather than being stored away to build up and cause problems.
I recommend: Drink enough water! If you just can’t get yourself to crave water, don’t reach for soda instead! It has the opposite effect- dehydration. I love flavoring my water with lemon, cucumbers or berries. Iced tea is also a good option as long as you stick to the unsweetened, low caffeine versions like herbal blends, white teas or green teas.
And pack little bags of fruits or veggies for work. When you’re bored or craving something, they might not be the sea salt and vinegar chips you’re looking for, but they’ll curb your craving until it passes. And soon enough you’ll prefer the sweet, refreshing crunch of veggies and juicy, sweet taste of fruits!
Good luck creating your new, healthy habits using toxic-free products! I can’t wait to hear what benefits you feel when your body begins to recover from toxic overload and starts to function at the high level of health! Remember to take love, patience, and consistency with yourself on this journey of positive change.